Exhibits chair duties

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Exhibits Chair Duties

Conference Handbook - Exhibits Chair Duties

The Exhibits Chair is responsible for assembling the exhibit that takes place in parallel to the main theoretical conference program. Typically, exhibits are presented by companies, since the exhibit setup costs money. The chair’s duties include approaching likely companies, coordinating their exhibits, locating and retaining a local pipe-and-drape setup company, dealing with insurance if such is required, assembling from exhibitors whatever descriptions are needed for the conference program, making sure that exhibitors’ display requirements are conveyed to the Local Arrangements Chair, etc.

In some conferences, the Exhibits Chair is a paid position; see financing the exhibits.

The Exhibits Chair should work very closely with the General, Local, and Program Chairs, to coordinate the time, exhibit space, and financial aspects.


The Exhibits Chair must perform the following duties.

  1. Advertise the exhibit:
    • Develop list of potential exhibitors
    • Draft a general letter for large mailing
    • Draft and designing a brochure to include in large mailing
    • Draft a specific invitation letter to key prospects (previous exhibitors, corporations, research labs, universities, Government labs, association members, etc.)
    • Draft a legal contract to accompany the invitation letter
  2. Bring in and work with exhibitors:
    • Mail out the general notice and the specific invitations
    • Call prospective exhibitors and get them to sign on
    • Follow up on initial letters
    • Maintain regular communication with each exhibitor and find solutions to their problems
    • Assist with their hardware needs (rental computers, freight companies, etc.)
    • Arrange with the hotel and the Local Chair for enough time before and after the exhibition for setup and teardown
  3. Finance and bookkeeping
    • Receive checks from exhibitors and pass them on to the General Chair and/or the Treasurer of the Association
    • Maintain careful records of all financial transactions
    • maintain a careful record of all correspondence with each exhibitor
  4. Plan the exhibition infrastructure:
    • Work with the Local Arrangements Chair to ensure appropriate space
    • Arrange that the space contain:
    • internet hookups
    • telephone hookups
    • furniture (tables, chairs, etc.)
    • pipes and drapes (this requires dealing with an exhibitor contractor)
    • signage (this requires dealing with a local artist and/or printer)
    • Arrange security and maintenance
    • ensure the room is lockable
    • arrange with hotel for 24-hour security
    • Arrange with hotel for daily cleaning of exhibit area
  5. Plan the layout of the exhibition:
    • Assign booth space based on conference priorities and exhibitor preferences
    • Arrange for exhibit area registration for walk-ins, including assistance as needed
    • Arrange for signage to direct traffic to exhibit area
    • Coordinate the placement and maintenance of traffic-builders (coffee station, raffle)
    • Line up decorator and decide on services to be used
    • Once a contract has been signed with decorator, assume responsibility for all coordination
  6. Create publications:
    • Collect from each exhibitor a statement for inclusion in conference program
    • Design layout of exhibit presentation in conference program
    • Provide a list of exhibitors and/or description of the exhibition to the person in charge of publicity for the conference
  7. Be present during the conference:
    • Remain on-site, visible, and ready to deal with problems during set-up, exhibit hours, and teardown
    • Check each exhibit personally during setup, during the conference, and after teardown
    • Check periodically to make sure the coffee station and other attractions are properly functional
    • Make sure the teardown is complete to the hotel’s satisfaction
  8. Finalize everything after the conference
    • Write a thank-you letter to each exhibitor
    • Draft and circulate an evaluation form for exhibitors
    • Prepare a concluding report if required by the General Chair

Author: Eduard Hovy, 2000.