When you’re invited to speak at an event, you are usually offered a display table where you can sell your books or display promotional materials (and if you aren’t offered one, be sure to ask!). Checklist of Items to Take to Speaking Engagements Here is a checklist of items to bring along to ensure you’re prepared.

  • Large rolling suitcase—This makes it easy to store and transport everything.
  • Plenty of books—As a rule, bring enough for 40% of the audience to purchase.
  • Order forms—If you have multiple books, consider bundling them together at a discount (people love these!). You may also want to offer special discounts on consulting, training programs, or other products and services. Order forms also come in handy in case you run out of books.
  • Credit card processing—You will miss out on sales if you don’t have a way to process credit cards. If you have an iPhone or iPad, check out www.squareup.com, which gives you a credit card swipe device for your phone. You can also collect credit card information on your order forms and process them with PayPal’s Virtual Terminal service when you return to the office.
  • Business cards—Bring more than you will need, along with a card holder for display on your table.
  • Tablecloth—This gives your table a distinctive look. You may want to bring a second tablecloth along and use it with your book boxes, turned upside-down, to add height to your table and create an eye-catching display.
  • Bookmarks and marketing collateral—Bring along any handouts, postcards, or other promotional material that you want attendees to have.
  • Book easels—Simple folding book easels allow you to display books upright. Check out www.displays2go.com for options.
  • Mailing list sign-up—There are several ways to approach this. You can have a sign-up sheet on your table or a way for attendees to drop in a business card. I like to use a small folding gift bag since it’s easy to transport and still looks attractive on the table. Also make sure to offer some incentive for signing up by holding a drawing for a prize (free book) or give away a report or eBook.
  • Signage—You don’t have to go overboard, though a professionally printed sign can be used over and over again. You can have a banner created with grommets that can be tied up behind you in a trade show booth. Or you can print a large foam-core poster to be showcased on a small easel.
  • Tape and scissors—It’s amazing how often these items come in handy.
  • Pens—You’ll need a nice pen for autographing books. It’s also helpful to have a few extra pens on hand, plus a Sharpie in case you need to whip up a sign.

Of course, you can add to this list and bring promotional items (pens, mugs, squishy balls), a bowl of candy, a bouquet of flowers, or anything else that will add appeal to your table. But the above list gives you the basics while keeping things simple yet professional.

If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit with checklists, templates and worksheets on professional speaking. Check it out!