13 Things Not to Do When Working a Trade Show

What shouldn’t you do at a trade show? To begin with, if you don’t want to be there find someone to replace you who does want to be there, and if that’s not possible – get over it. Beginning a show with an “I don’t want to be here” attitude isn’t going to help you or the show. After you’ve won that battle with yourself here are a few things to keep out of your booth and out of your head, what not to do when working a trade show.

13 No no’s  When Working a Trade Show 

  1. Don’t Eat At the Booth

Eat before and after but not during the show. When you get hungry, take a break and go eat, which means the booth needs enough staff at all times.

  1. Don’t Over or Under Staff

Schedule enough personnel so that staff members can take breaks, but not so many that they fall over each other.

  1. Never Leave Your Booth Empty

This goes hand in hand with proper staffing; unless there’s an emergency don’t be the last person out of the booth during show hours. Don’t leave it empty.

  1. Don’t Forget Breath Mints

Speaking of food, watch what you eat. I once had a thick slice of onion on a burger at a show. Even mouthwash didn’t help.

  1. No Adult Beverages

I’ve worked shows where vendors share beer, wine, and more. And … I’ve partaken, but never again. Let it suffice to say it isn’t a good idea.

  1. Keep Inappropriate Clothing at Home

Uncomfortable or inappropriate outfits that don’t fit the show, or your target audience, shouldn’t even be in your suitcase. Trade Show Dress What to Wear and What to Leave at Home. 

  1. No Grumpy Gary’s

Don’t be a grump. Yes, I know you’ve been on your feet for 10 hours, and you’ve done so for the last three days, but that’s no excuse. Smile!

  1. Do Not Sit

I don’t like chairs in a trade show booth. Sitting isn’t a proactive way to interact with attendees. And worse yet if you do have chairs never-ever-never put your feet up on the table. Never. How Many Chairs Do you Need in a Trade Show Booth?

  1. Leave Your Phone Alone

Unless it’s an emergency or work related keep your phone in your pocket, not in your hand. Don’t text, talk, socialize on social media, or conduct Google searches.

  1. No Reading

I get it, you’re a huge John Green fan, and your friend just loaned you a copy of his latest book, but please save it for your motel room after the show.

  1. Don’t Make a Mess

Keep your booth shiny and clean, wipe down displays, sweep the floor, and keep it tidy. Place personal items out of sight.

  1. Never Knock the Competition

Knocking the competition isn’t a good sales tactic it just makes you look desperate. Rather than attack other businesses weaknesses share your strengths.

  1. No Bad Language

No cursing, slander, sexist, or racist remarks. Do not tell jokes in poor taste, and never say a word in anger.

Unlucky 13

There you have it 13 things not to do at a trade show. If you’re like me and have worked a lot of shows you’ve probably done the majority of these activities and found them lacking. That’s the hard way to learn. Take it from me, if you and your staff follow these luck 13 recommendations you’ll have a more successful show and a lot more fun.

Photo Credit: Alexas_Fotos ID: bb4c3ccc982e4150 Provider: Pixabay

By |2018-01-12T10:34:29+00:00January 12th, 2018|Trade Shows & Events|

About the Author:

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications at TKO Graphix, where he regularly blogs for TKO's Brandwire. Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He is a beer geek and, on weekends, he fronts the rock band, Under The Radar. He is the proud father of one educator, one principal, has four amazing grandchildren, and a public speaker wife who puts up with him. His twitter handle is: @randyclarktko, Facebook: Randy Clarktko, Google+: Randy Clark on G+