How to Train Your Booth Staff to Work With Reporters


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Many times reporters will walk in and out of a booth without anyone paying them the slightest attention. Do you know what will happen? Nothing – they will never write about that company.

Since you never know when reporters will visit your booth, take steps to ensure that they are greeted and served in your absence. Be proactive, and teach everyone staffing your booth to look for reporters. When reporters walk within ten feet of your booth, your staff should be prepared to talk to them. When a reporter enters the booth, they should immediately be directed to one of your public relations people, or the person assigned to deal with reporters.

If your booth is staffed with people from your company who are capable of presenting your product, you may choose to encourage them to approach reporters and say, “Are you interested in ——?” or “I’ve got a product that does X, Y and Z, and our booth is right over here. Can I give you a one-minute demo?”

This preparation pays off when you are in the middle of an important appointment and an equally important reporter drops by. An alert “second-in-command” will already know exactly what to do: make an introduction, exchange a business card for a press kit, explain the product, and supervise
the demo.

Here’s an easy procedure to reduce the chances of missing the press:

• Create a prioritized list of the reporters (and their publications) who are most important to your product’s publicity plan (see Chapter 4 – Targeting the Media).
– Read the list to your booth personnel before the show.
– Give them copies.
– Place a copy under the desk in the booth reception area where only staffers can see it.

• Create a procedure for dealing with the drop-by press and train your booth staff on how to implement it.

Here’s a sample procedure:
– Introduce yourself briefly.
– Call over the designated executive, make introductions, leave the reporter with the executive, and steer other booth traffic away from them. If no designated executives are available, proceed with the reporter as follows:
– Position the product.
– Ascertain their interest.
– Supervise the demo, and make sure the reporter’s questions are answered.
– Offer a press kit and your business card, ask for their business card, and ask if the reporter wants any additional information.
– Record follow-up requests on their card.
– Thank the reporter!