Trade Show Display Etiquette: The Basics

November 20th, 2018

After you purchase your trade show display and have it assembled in the exhibit hall, it is time to use it to create lead generation and brand awareness for your business. If you have created a compelling trade show booth design, its look and messaging should draw attendees in who want to learn more about what your company can offer.

It is at that time that your sales staff needs to use the advantage the display has given them and provide an engaged and professional experience to booth visitors. Here are just a few of the basic rules of trade show display etiquette they should follow in order to maximize leads and connect with their visitors.


Atlantic Aviation Trade Show Display


Use welcoming body language within the trade show display.

Words are important, but body language will tell visitors even more about your business and your employees’ interest in them. As a result, your booth staff must use welcoming body language whenever they are interacting with visitors in your trade show display. Here are a few ideas for body language that puts people at ease:

  • Keep arms and legs uncrossed.
  • Speak with a smile.
  • Make and keep eye contact.
  • Avoid using smart phones within the booth.
  • Do not lean against furniture.
  • Do not sit unless with a visitor.
  • Avoid distraction, such as speaking with other booth staff.
  • Use polite language, including “please” and “thank you.”

The goal is for your staff to feel friendly and approachable at all times to visitors while they are in the trade show display. Any body language or behavior that detracts from this approachability will make it more difficult for visitors to engage with booth staff or feel as if they are your staff’s top priority. When staff can create a friendly atmosphere that complements a compelling and informative booth design, you have a greater chance of winning visitors’ goodwill and future business.


Avoid eating or drinking inside the trade show display.

In addition to maintaining a welcoming demeanor within the booth, your staff should also avoid eating or drinking while they are on duty. Any snacks, drinks, or meals should be consumed during breaks outside the trade show display (so make sure your staffing schedule allows for plenty of these).

There are two main reasons to avoid eating and drinking inside the booth. The first is to maintain the cleanliness and appeal of the exhibit. Food and drink spills can damage electronic equipment or leave stains that can detract from the professional appearance your booth needs to have. In addition, the clutter created by water bottles, snack wrappers, and meal containers can be seriously off putting to visitors who expect a clean environment focused on your brand.

Second, eating and drinking within the booth can look unprofessional and make it more difficult for visitors to approach your staff (or vice versa). Trying to eat and interact effectively with booth visitors is nearly impossible. Avoid losing valuable leads or portraying a negative view of your business by keeping food and drink outside your trade show display.


Include the right number of staff for the size of the trade show display.

Your booth staff may be friendly and approachable, but if there are not enough of them to handle all the traffic through your booth, visitors will still feel neglected. On the other hand, the presence of too many employees can make a booth, especially a small one, feel crowded before visitors even enter the door. Strike an appealing middle ground by staffing your booth with the right number of salespeople.

One method for determining the right number of staffers is to take the square footage of your trade show display and subtract the square footage consumed by furniture and other items. Then divide the remaining square footage by 50. That number should be the right number of staffers.

In addition, make sure to spread staffers out through your booth. If every staffer is responsible for a certain section of the trade show display, you are more likely to engage all visitors without staffers crowding visitors or each other.


Maintain a clean trade show display.

Cleanliness is next to professionalism when it comes to a trade show display. Make sure, therefore, that your booth looks clean at all times during the trade show. Normal wear and tear may be unavoidable (such as chipped paint or accidental bumps or dirt smears from visitors’ shoes). However, there are steps you can take to keep your booth looking fresh for the entire event.

For example, as mentioned above, keep staffers from eating and drinking inside the trade show display to prevent food clutter and spills. In addition, have staff conduct a cleanup of the booth every day. This should include vacuuming, spot cleaning spills and marks, wiping down graphics and surfaces, and even conducting basic maintenance, such as changing burned out light bulbs.


Have staff maintain a professional appearance within the trade show display.

Finally, trade show display etiquette requires your staff to maintain a well-groomed and professional appearance within the booth. In particular, your staff should either wear business casual clothing or uniforms provided by your company. In addition, clothing should be unwrinkled and clean throughout the staffer’s shift, and clothing should clearly differentiate booth staff from visitors.

Proper trade show display etiquette can go a long way toward complementing a great booth design and winning over visitors. By using welcoming body language, not eating or drinking in the display, including the right number of staffers for the trade show display, maintaining a clean exhibit, and ensuring that staffers maintain a professional appearance, you can maximize the positive experience visitors have in your booth. And if you want a booth design that draws in visitors to begin with, do not hesitate to reach out to Imagecraft. We have the experience and creativity to meet your company’s needs within your budget.