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Start With Why: Inspiring Those on the Trade Show Floor in 2014

I was recently introduced to the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek. After watching the TEDTalks presentation by Simon, in which he explains his “Why theory” and how leaders can inspire action, I purchased a copy of Start with Why on audio CD to find out more.

In his book, Simon outlines his “Golden Circle” theory. To quickly summarize, here’s what he says:

  • Every organization in operation knows what they do.
  • Good organizations know how they do it.
  • Organizations that inspire others and influence their industries, or even the world, know why they do what they do.


These inspirational organizations don’t stop there; they start with why in everything they do and always begin any communication in this way. Your why should be communicated both internally and externally, especially in your marketing, trade show promotions and recruitment.

If you start with why you will find people (whether they be clients, staff, suppliers or stakeholders) that believe what you believe and you will in turn create loyalty and long-term relationships. So it is only logical to begin thinking how you would start with why to inspire others on the trade show floor. Based on the common objectives outlined by many of our clients here are some ideas:

If your objective on the trade show floor is to increase brand recognition, ask yourself these questions. Does your custom trade show display communicate why you do what you do? Or does it simply show what you do or how you do it? If you can’t find the why it might be time to review your design to increase your likelihood of inspiring trade show attendees and finding those that believe in the same thing you do.

Communicate the why of your organization to target the candidates that will be the best fit for your company. Ask your employees why they get out of bed every morning to come to work for you, and then share those stories in your booth through your display, audio visual presentation, and/or your booth staff. This is a great way to factor in why you do what you do.

Product Demonstration
Many exhibitors go to events to showcase or demonstrate product. This is a valid objective, but then your trade show booth is all what and no why. Are you advertising your company and your products as commodities? If you are, your what will shadow your why; think how you can better communicate your why to inspire and lead on the trade show floor.

Educate and Inform
For those going to shows to educate, inform and communicate messages it makes sense to start with why. Tell your audience what you believe, why you began doing what you do, and then the how and what that resulted from the why. Inspire people to join your cause because they also can relate and believe in your why.

Build Networks, Relationships & Alliances
The best relationships result from people coming together due to a common belief or outlook. Clearly communicate your why to target and inspire those people that share your why to start beneficial, loyal and long-term relationships.

wp_value_smKnowing why you do something and how it impacts others is valuable information. Read The Value of Trade Shows to learn why what you do as an event and trade show marketer is relevant and important. Click here for your free copy.

About the Author

Samantha Heyden was the Marketing Manager for Skyline Displays Australia before retiring.

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