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27 the exhibition guru R ead any of those ' How to Exhibit' guides and you'll find a wealth of wisdom about briefing your stand staff. Sensible companies take this on board, ensuring everyone involved is totally aware of the organisation's products and services, recent releases, industry news and the latest trends. But how good are most companies at considering all those awkward questions that could be asked at an exhibition? After all, there is potentially a vast audience of visitors exposed to the organisation through a wealth of on- and off- line communications channels. For example, think about some of the major organisations you've seen mentioned in the papers over the last month, with stories that move from the business pages to the mainstream. Banks, airlines, pharmaceuticals, cities and countries have all suffered their share of bad press, and you can bet your life it'll be a similar picture, with different names, same situations, next month. The trouble is that the exhibition environment is one where you rarely have any control over the visitors or the questions they ask. Much of the traditional business decorum that a private meeting generates may go right out the window. Let me give you a real- life example. I recently ran a training course for a much- loved client recently. I won't mention its Gladiators, are you ready? Exhibition guru Richard Johnwarns that everyone needs to be clued up on company business. Before attending an exhibition, make sure the visiting team is briefed on everything the company has been doing EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk