So, how many chairs should you have in a trade show booth? Does it depend on how large the space is? Is there some formula based on the number of staff members working the show? Is it somehow connected to the attendance of the show or the type of industry? The answer is, with one exception, you shouldn’t have chairs, stools, or seats in a trade show booth.

But, Won’t Staffers get Tired?

Yes, they will. So bring a large enough staff to schedule breaks. And don’t bring anyone to the show that has problems standing; they’re not a good fit. When I tell people to leave the stools at home, many argue that people need to sit. I’ve asked these same folks if their company has production personnel who stand. And when I ask if they have stools or chairs I usually hear, “Well, that’s different.” No, it’s not. If production work requires standing to get the job done, then people are hired to stand eight or more hours a day. It’s the same for show staff.

It Means More When Your Staff Stands

When you walk a show and see booth after booth filled with staff seated at the back of the booth talking among themselves or busily typing with their thumbs what do you think? Do you believe these people are here to answer your questions? Does it seem as if the organization has a well-prepared staff?

It Keeps Your Staff on Their Feet—Literally

Sitting in the booth doesn’t prepare staff to interact with prospects and isn’t that why you have people at the show? If not, if you expect people to enter your booth, sign up, and grab collateral materials all on their own, why have any staff at all? You need staff standing up front and ready to greet and engage prospects.

So, What’s the Exception?

The exception is if the seats are for clients. Not long ago I was at a show where a corner booth had a circular display; several staff members stood inside the display while consumers sat on stools that ringed the outside of the booth. Brilliant.

How Many Chairs Will You Bring to the Next Show?

I use “bring” figuratively because sometimes booths are required to rent chairs at exorbitant prices, and that’s another reason to stand. Stacking your booth with chairs, can crowd the area, make the space less attractive, make it harder to walk into your booth, and most important of all separate your team from potential clients. So, how many chairs will you bring to your next show?