There will be a point in your working life whereby you will need to run an exhibition, whether it is a large public event or a small local event. This is a daunting task for someone who has had little or no experience in organising an exhibition of any sort, therefore understanding and researching what you need to do to is a good start.
The first thing you will need to do is make a plan of the exhibition. This is an obvious step, however, it is a common mistake that people can make when putting on an exhibition without a plan and only acting on instinct hiring out expensive pop-up display stands that later appear irrelevant to the concept of the exhibition.
It is important that you ask yourself the following questions to help better prepare for the exhibition. What is the aim of the exhibition? What are you trying to promote? What services are you offering? What do you want people to feel when they attend? Are you trying to target a specific audience or is this an open event? Is there a specific theme to the exhibition? (Technology, health, beauty etc), Where will this event take place and at what time? What equipment will you be needing (e.g. pop-up display stands, lighting, projector screens, banner stands etc).
Once you have made a plan of action, made a list of all the things you will need, calculated the costs and the number of people needed for the event, only then can you take the next step into hiring equipments, booking a venue early and spending out on promotional information.
Local events are usually kept simple and small, these are relatively easy to organise but it could also still go very wrong. Handing out leaflets, notifying the local press and putting up posters is a great way to attract attention. Visiting local churches, shops, schools and community centres are an even better way to interact with people face-to-face is a more likely way to get people to come.
The same strategy works for bigger and larger events. Make calls to your clients, put up notices on websites, use press releases and if you need to get in contact with the media. Whilst making this effort into publicising the event, find out what you will be displaying, what equipment you will need, designate tasks to different people (as you can run the organisation on your own), see to the design of the banner, graphic or pop-up display stands (decide which ones are most effective taking into account of the costs).
Some exhibitions are very well displayed, attracting and impressing visitors. What is most impressive is what people will gain from attending, so be sure to provide them with what they need e.g. if it is a local fundraising event provide various activities, refreshments and information about what the event is in aid of.
Sometimes exhibitions are just a way to market and advertise a certain kind of brand; this is not necessarily a bad thing if it is a trade show or a technology fair. When clients are approaching you, you need to make it worth their while by making contact with them and providing succinct information about what you do.
Finally give yourself enough time to prepare, never leave anything to the last minute and stick to your agenda. It is always good to devise a timetable of some sort so you can have it in your head exactly what is going on at what time and it will help you run things smoothly. The best way to get a good insight into running an exhibition or small event is to observe one yourself, ask questions and gain advice from experienced event organisers.