Ten Low-Tech Rules for Tradeshow Success

Without diving into the myriad of things you can do to boost your tradeshow performance on a higher level, these are my top ten things to boost your image, sales, and productivity at Tradeshows that are easy and simple.

These are very low-tech and the basics, but I am always amazed at how many people have grasped what they need to do online but have entirely forgotten the simple things that ensure success.

10. Be on time and always staffed:

  • An exhibit space with no one in it shows attendees that you really don’t want to be there, and I would guess it shows a lot about your corporate culture.

9. Leave the brochures at home:

  • Brochures look messy, no one wants them, and you will save your back. You should have your info ready to go in a PDF format and email it to attendees who request information; if they “want a brochure” and not an email, chances are they were just being nice and really didn’t want your info anyway.

8. Order carpet pad:

  • Your staff will love you, and your attendees will too.

7. Have fun:

  • No one wants to talk to grumpy people, and it shows on your face. When you walk onto the floor, you are on stage.

6. Get off the phone:

  • What are you thinking!! If your calls or emails are more important than the attendees at the show, you could have stayed in the office. Have to take a call? Go somewhere else.

5. Keep your exhibit space clean and uncluttered:

  • A seeming no-brainer: I was at a show in Anaheim last year, and a company had gotten a 10×30 space. They had their booth on the first 10 feet and used the second 20 feet to create a nice lounge for attendees. The only problem was no one ever cleaned it, and the tables were stacked with dirty coffee cups, paper, and food wrappers. Yuck.

4. Get a tradeshow display that is designed by a professional:

  • You are spending zillions on space, travel, electricity, and the internet. Don’t try and save a few pennies with a fabric and Velcro graphic booth. Make it look like you came to win, not like you are attending the grade school science fair.

3. Never Sit in your exhibit space:

  • This one is simple: you look lazy. Get up and be energized. People feed off of this. Have to rest the dogs? Go to the exhibitor’s lounge; that’s what it is for.

2. Never stand with your arms crossed:

  • It makes you look mean, unapproachable, and defiant.

1. Never, ever, ever eat or drink in your booth:

  • This one is so, so easy, and it seems that 50% of exhibitors do it so that they “don’t miss an opportunity.” No one will disturb you while you are eating, and it grosses me out. If you are eating, I will pass by and won’t be back. While it is OK to offer water to your visitors, you need to get hydrated somewhere else… again, the exhibitors lounge works great. Be a professional.

There you go, ten old-fashioned ways to be successful at a trade show. Now go and be productive.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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