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Navigating a Virtual Trade Show

David Keene– In preparation for Thursday’s Digital Signage 2011 Virtual Trade Show, I’ve asked Lyle Bunn to let me reprint his excellent Guide on how to maximize your time at an online virtual show–and in particular our event this Thursday. My thanks to Lyle for this excellent guide–and for being a Presenter at the event this Thursday the 21st. (BTW, registration is still open. Register online, at no charge, at:

Click here to Register

Here are Lyle’s tips on maximizing time, and enjoying the event (taken from Lyle’s website

How to get the most from an Online, Virtual Trade Show

(A page from Lyle Bunn’s playbook)

By Lyle Bunn

The “delivered-to-the-desktop conference and tradeshow” approach is a very, very, very productive way to attend education sessions, get an update on industry perspectives, trends and best practices, connect with event sponsors and trade show exhibitor, and to network with other delegates. Very productive indeed.

The July 21, 2011 event promises to be even better than the April and Nov 2010 events. It is again produced by NewBay media, publishers of Marketing at Retail, Digital Signage Weekly, Digital Signage Magazine, the Digital Signage Directory, System Contractor News and many other industry publications. It is provided in partnership with InfoComm International and is being driven by David Keene, the longest serving and acknowledged as one of the best connected and best informed editors and show producers in the Digital Signage industry. He is a true force in industry advancement.

Following are some suggestions on how to get the most value from a virtual event, based on my experience in the April 2010 inaugural virtual Digital Signage event (which was excellent!).

1. Pre-register. You can do this at:

Register Here

2. Review the agenda and exhibit list in advance, setting up your event itinerary (i.e. your event “to do” list) based on sessions and companies that are most important to you. The timing of sessions that you want to attend, as well as when you will plan to visit sponsors, exhibitors, networking lounges and discussions will show the gaps when you could schedule essential office meetings, check emails and voicemail, and respond to high priority items. If you can, consider yourself “away from office” to allow yourself to get maximum advantage of the education and contacts available. It is best if you do not have to attend to any regular duties and can be virtually “out-of office” that day.

3. Prepare a photo/avatar to be included in your profile. This brings more “you” to the online event and must be a very small file (note: the photo file/headshot you upload, must be tiny in file size. It cannot exceed 10KB in size. A “.gif” file is best for your Avatar. When you have logged in to the show platform, go to the “My Profile” tab at the bottom of the “plaza”/landing page, and you’ll see the “Avatar” tab.

4. Test/confirm your system set up and capability when you receive confirmation of your registration. This is important. The process is self-explanatory, after you log in.

5. Get online (i.e. “arrive”) early on July 21st,using the log on instructions provided to you after you register. Start at the profile page, assuring that your contact info is included and up to date, and load your photo/Avatar.

6. Confirm your planned agenda and have your agenda printed and on your desk with a clock so that you are not late arriving at any sessions. (They all start exactly on time).

7. Follow your planned agenda for the day “bouncing” between the auditorium, sessions, the trade show, your charts and lounges.

Some key tips...

• Plan to attend all keynote and primary sessions when they are scheduled, in part so that you can more easily download the presentations.

• Scroll through the “Who is Here” section to see attendee names and their company. This is like looking at someone’s nametag, so if someone interests you, introduce yourself in chat to establish contact. Be sure to say hello to friends, customers and partners. Chat can get busy, so keep trying if you have to.

• Minimize the length of chat messages and time you have in any one conversation. This allows you to connect and meet with more people, and have higher “presence” yourself at the event. Plan to connect by email or telephone to continue conversations with people after the event. This would be agreed to by each party in the chat and telephone number or email address will have to be provided in the message (this is not provided by event organizers).

• Go to the “Resources” section and download the available materials that are of interest to you. Save them in an event folder for review, sorting and use after the event.

The desktop, virtual event approach is extremely productive and the time that you spend planning your participation and your discipline in sticking to your detailed participation plan will maximize the value you get. Do a detailed plan and stick to it.

Finally, enjoy!

Lyle Bunn is a leading figure in North America’s Digital Signage and DOOH industry, widely recognized for his contributions as an independent industry advisor and educator.

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