Maximizing Impact: Audio-Visual Installations for Trade Shows

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Trade shows allow businesses and organizations to showcase their products and services to potential customers. Typically, most organizations need a robust and well-laid-out audio-visual setup to create a productive and positive atmosphere, thus generating more sales. However, planning AV installations for trade shows is a daunting task, and it is more of a challenge than many think.

By the end of this article, you will learn the following key points in maximizing the impact of audio-visual installations in trade shows:

  • The tips to maximize retention through AV installations in trade shows
  • The struggles of setting up AV installations in trade shows

One of the best ways to maximize impact through AV installations in trade shows is by utilizing exaggerated and excessive equipment. For example, one can employ giant displays, use new technologies such as augmented reality, or use prominent speakers.

In an environment as nauseating and overwhelming as trade shows, it is critical to use high-quality and professionally installed AV equipment to avoid confusion and keep the atmosphere up while making the event appear professional and polished. Moreover, good AV equipment will ensure that the trade show is a memorable and engaging experience. Let’s look at a few critical points in which we can provide high engagement and attention retention among our attendees.

Maximizing Impact Through AV Installations

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Always Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to ensure your AV installation succeeds and creates significant value during a trade fair. For example, confirm that you know the venue’s floor plan before planning out the proper kit to prepare for the event.

Knowing how big the venue is, where the centerpieces might be, and crucial highlights of the venue are essential to produce an easily spotted and impactful audio-visual installation. For example, placing the screens on easily distinguishable and universally visible spaces is crucial to convey essential visual information throughout the venue.

Another benefit of knowing and doing your homework is that it is less likely to encounter “shock problems” and last-minute issues. Identifying key features of the venue can help you anticipate possible problems such as lost visibility and a lack of resources, and knowing where to find the highest traffic volume can help you prioritize resources there.

Aside from the floor plan, it is also essential to know which booths are which, as some may need more audio-visual assistance than others. Often, in trade shows, there are “flagship” booths that need more attention to detail compared to others. 

Choosing The Right Equipment

To maximize impact during trade shows, ensure you use the appropriate audio-visual equipment for the task. There are vital aspects to consider when choosing the proper equipment for a trade show, and this is where your homework plays a part. These can be the following:

  • Ensure that your equipment of choice is compatible with the technologies available at the venue. For example, the venue may lack the space to use a wall screen. Another example that relates to technological incompatibility is when using projectors for a well-lit venue. Always consider the information gathered from your homework and assess accordingly.
  • Consider the context around the event. For example, suppose the trade show aims at creating connections for conglomerates and companies. In that case, a vast, larger-than-life speaker may not be necessary, as they can be an eyesore and can appear “too rowdy” for the event. However, if it is aimed at a general audience, blasting intense music might be more appropriate to keep the engagement up. It would be best if you scaled your equipment accordingly to context. More on this topic later.
  • While choosing your go-to solutions when purchasing equipment is convenient, consider researching hardware upgrades. For example, virtual reality and augmented reality are excellent virtual-reality installation options that can make a trade show a much more engaging experience. However, it doesn’t have to concern entirely novel technologies. Screen technology evolves quite fast, and keeping up with trends and changes is challenging, to say the least.

Consider Audio Equipment Placement

One of the toughest challenges when planning an audio-visual installation is determining the proper audio equipment placement. One wrong move can ruin the harmony and mixing of audio. Here are a few tips to prevent that:

  • Test space acoustics: survey the area and identify the acoustics of the location. Consider sound-absorbent material that may help mitigate unnecessary noise. 
  • Do audio rehearsals: try playing loud music at different locations and identify where and which places have the best acoustics. While theoretical calculations can help, there’s nothing better than conducting real-life experiments to help gather data.
  • Identify equipment capability: audio equipment does different things, tweeters function differently compared to woofers, and their acoustic performance varies. Consider floor layout as well as equipment capability when identifying optimal speaker locations.

Another tip to help determine the purpose of your equipment. We will discuss this in the next section.

Identify The Purpose

Trade show displays that incorporate lighting, sound, and video make huge impacts. Learn more from
Trade show displays that incorporate lighting, sound, and video make huge impacts.

When preparing for an AV installation for a trade show, the best way to decide what equipment to purchase or acquire is through understanding under what context one will use them. Not only can it help identify the appropriate locations, but doing this step can also help narrow down your options significantly. Consider the following contexts:

  • Amplifying speakers: Maximizing the scope of reach is essential for an amplifying context, such as in tradeshows with keynotes or panel discussions. Place speakers outside and inside of the venue to maximize reach while ensuring that they are far enough not to make the speakers clash with each other and that speech remains intelligible. 
  • For broadcasting use: When you get a professionally designed audio system for broadcasting use cases (i.e., beaming out announcements), you can consider tweeters as they allow for easier speech intelligibility, allowing for crispier T and S sounds. Moreover, placing the speakers in a generally crowded area is better for a wider reach. (1)
  • For playing background music: Using speakers to set the mood for a trade show is a common practice, and for this, the placement of the speakers should be where people spend much time, such as in food courts, waiting areas, or lounge areas.

Exaggerate When Needed

One of the few mistakes AV professionals make when setting up for trade shows is that they tend to be more conservative with the setup. For many tradeshows, especially those that act as a front for advertising products, it will significantly help if the attendee is constantly engaged with presentations, media, and information. What better way to convey that other than with large visual displays?

Create a visual atmosphere around a trade show, display screens in easy-to-spot areas, and, better still, on high-altitude positions. Moreover, ensure that the screen is big enough to remain legible in most angles and sections of the venue.

Lighting Is Key

During trade shows, one key aspect to consider is the lighting. Other than enhancing visibility towards products and booths, lighting can also improve the visual aspects of a presentation.

For example, lighting is known for being relatively influential in affecting emotions such as purchasing decisions and appetite. According to a research paper entitled “The Psychology of Light,” lighting is capable of affecting the following emotions:

  • Black expresses the emotions of intelligence, power, mystery, formality, prestige, and elegance. If a trade fair focuses on high-end luxury products and services, then black might be a perfect concept, and as such, a reduction in lighting might be more of a better choice.
  • White, on the other hand, expresses neutrality, goodness, cleanliness, and faith. The white can be a great choice if the fair relates to anything concerning faith and religion.
  • Purple helps reduce stress and repulsive emotions.
  • Green refers to anything related to nature, energy, calmness, and motivation. Green is a perfect choice if the fair is a self-help convention or anything pertaining to agriculture.
  • Orange expresses creativity and novelty. It can be great for art fairs. Moreover, it is also known to encourage appetite, along with the color red.
  • Aside from appetite, red is also known for romance and passion.
  • Blue, on the other hand, can appear calm and is known to reduce blood pressure, and is suitable for light therapies.

Embrace New AV Technologies

While many trade shows are stuck with conventional technologies, in recent years, advancements in VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) have helped them provide a more realistic and immersive experience that one can utilize for trade fair attendees. 

Virtual reality is a technology that allows the attendees to experience a fully simulated environment that can recreate real-life scenarios or create entirely new ones. These installations can attract visitors to their booth, and creative limitations are practically extinguished by simulating a 360-degree environment, a commonality within VR setups. (4)

Let us take the following examples: 

  • A car company can showcase a test drive through its immersive audio-visual VR installation.
  • Resorts and hotels can allow interested attendees to experience their locations.
  • You can only showcase products like Meta (Facebook)’s Metaverse in a VR setup.

On the other hand, we also have AR or augmented reality. AR differs from VR in one aspect: while VR tries to recreate or replace reality, AR aims to improve reality. Typically, it utilizes a smartphone camera to ensure your environment is still visible, but it adds additional graphics that overlay on the camera feed.

  • Businesses like IKEA can showcase furniture and home decor in semi-virtual showrooms.
  • Fashion brands can incorporate AR to allow users to test and replace clothes on the fly.

Incorporating VR and AR into AV installations can help businesses provide a unique and immersive experience while allowing visitors to better understand their products or services. It leads to increased engagement, brand awareness, and sales.

The Hurdles Of AV Installations In Trade Shows

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Visual elements incorporated in your trade show display, especially interactive ones, can make all the difference.

Identifying the hurdles of creating an effective audio-visual installation during trade shows is crucial in preparing for and executing a successful installation. Here are a few challenges that you might encounter during an AV installation for a trade show:

Space Constraints

One of the most significant considerations when doing an AV installation for a trade show is the venue– precisely, the limited space. Booths can be crowded and tight, making spotting the perfect spot for AV equipment challenging.

Another issue this brings up is that AV equipment can look clunky with wires, and there’s a potential risk of having wires running around the venue. Moreover, improper positioning can affect the visibility of video equipment, hampering its effectiveness and exposing them to risk. 

In order to reduce the risk of encountering space problems, a quick site visit can significantly help you prepare your materials and plan accordingly. 

Time Constraints

Trade shows have a tight schedule, making AV installations quite the trouble. Vendors get limited time before the show starts. While this may not necessarily be true with the AV setup for the venue, each booth might require its AV installation, which means the installation per booth might need to adjust accordingly. 

Because of the time constraints, there might be unexpected problems and external considerations. Moreover, it can lead to missed opportunities that allow us to identify the optimal AV setup.

Additionally, technical issues like compatibility problems can arise during installation, leading to delays that can complicate the entire process. Other factors, such as poor electric coverage, connectivity, and resources, can hinder the process.

It is best to develop a contingency plan to help reduce the risk of the installation failing.

Technical Difficulties

Even with a rigorous and intensive planning process, technical difficulties are inevitable, and they can occur even during D-Day. Moreover, as stated earlier, the tight schedule makes it difficult to troubleshoot and get things working just in time before the trade show starts. These issues can make it challenging to create an engaging production and create a significant impact on attendees. 

These issues may be because of equipment malfunctions, compatibility issues, or network connectivity problems. Ultimately, the prime target for an AV installation during a trade show is to create an engaging environment that promotes a product, service, or advocacy. While these issues may be challenging, any vendor that aims to overcome them and deliver an effective installation will likely achieve tremendous success at the trade show.


Audio-visual installations in a trade show significantly leave an attendee impact, thus driving product or service sales. Nevertheless, AV is only one part of a multi-faceted problem, and in a trade show, any issue out of an AV professional’s scope may still affect the overall presentation. Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure that any facets covered by an AV professional’s skillset are handled accordingly.

As a professional, it is your job to know the proper placement of the equipment such that it is in a practical yet safe environment. Moreover, appropriate preparations can help reduce the risk of unexpected issues during the event. Utilizing engaging and novel technologies is also an excellent strategy for prospective consumers to be aware of a particular booth (AR and VR ).

Nevertheless, issues are always a concern, so identify them before they can happen, such as knowing where the possible space constraints are and how much time you have to set up AV equipment before the trade show starts.

By the end, we’ll circle back to our main point: preparation is essential. By preparing accordingly, we can create informed and data-driven decisions.

If you have any concerns or questions, comment, and we’ll resolve them soon. 


  1. “What is a tweeter speaker and how does it work?” Descriptive Audio, Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  2. “The Importance of Images in Marketing,” SolveUK, June 3, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  3. Tomassoni, Rosella & Galetta, Giuseppe & Treglia, Eugenia. “Psychology of Light: How Light Influences the Health and Psyche.” Psychology, 2015, Retrieved February 28, 2023. 10.4236/psych.2015.610119. 
  4. Dubovi I., “Cognitive and emotional engagement while learning with VR: The perspective of multimodal methodology,” Computers & Education, 2022, Retrieved March 1, 2023. 
  5. Bosworth, A., “Meta’s Progress in Augmented and Virtual Reality,” Meta, December 19, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2023. 

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