How to stage successful exhibits

People usually show a great deal of interest in visual presentations. Many organisations have discovered that a well-planned exhibition or display can be a valuable vehicle for presenting information about themselves. Importantly, because they require a minimum of effort on the part of viewers, they allow key messages to be communicated quickly and conveniently. But no matter what kind of exhibit is staged, or what the particular message may be, the results are always better after careful planning. Here, then, are some useful suggestions to help you get the most out of your next exhibit...

1. Plan for your exhibit well in advance.

There is no point in staging an exhibit or display unless you have a clear purpose, an enthusiastic co-ordinating group, and a well thought-out strategy and schedule. Basic questions for the planners must be why, who, what, where, when, how and at what cost?

2. Focus on a key message.

It can be difficult to try to tell everything about your organisation in one display. Focus on one theme. What do you want people who view the exhibit to go away thinking? Communicating one idea forcefully is much easier and can be much more effective than confusing viewers with a series of scattered and disjointed messages.

3. Determine the nature of the event.

Displays can be static (featuring projects, products, services, the workforce, environmental issues, the company's community involvement etc.) or active (staff performances, demonstrations, parades etc.), or a combination of both.

To choose the content for the exhibit you should consider such questions as: Does the item fit the focus of the key message? How well will the item be received by the audience? Is it simple and concrete enough to be understood? Does it lend itself well to the exhibit's form of communication? Will the ideas, concepts, and facts capture attention and leave a vivid impression? What message-sending vehicles will be used - bulletin boards, posters, display panels and cases, tables, pedestals, videos, transparencies, photographs, performances, computer interactivity, products? Will printed handouts be available to reinforce your message? Any other give-aways?

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