Written by Kristi Schulz, Skyline Exhibits.

What creates a successful trade show booth? Is it the tables, backdrops, booth, theme, or merchandise? No way! It’s all about the performance of the booth staffers’. These tips will transform your mediocre booth into a noticeable, thriving, interactive booth stand!

Walking into a trade show the first time can be overwhelming, especially being a booth staffer. The bright colors, attendees, free samples, contest drawings, competition, new faces, the list goes on and on. How can you make your booth staffers feel comfortable in your booth and the environment to ensure their best performance? Being a previous booth staffer, I will let you in on a few hints about my personal trade show experience.

To have success, it is important for all your staffers to know their duties. These are some strategies that will guarantee a peak in booth staffers’ performance:

  • Assign a Team Lead: This is a veteran staff member that is knowledgeable about the company, able to answer any questions, keep an eye on other booth staffers’ presentation quality, and encourage them throughout the long day. This individual can help divide and conquer jobs to provide equal work to each staffer. This is a great way to strategize the installation and dismantling of the booth equipment.
  • Schedule a Morning Meeting: Having a morning meeting is a great time to learn what is expected from each staffer through out the day. This is where staffers learn about updates on the quality of leads coming in, announce adjustments, timing of activities, and updates on how everyone is doing on the goals that have been set.
  • Expand Your Territory: Get staffers out of their comfort zone. It is great to engage with attendees that are in the aisle. Although the attendees are not in your booth, you never know if they will be an important part of your future in business. Something as simple as a warm smile and greeting can go a long way.
  • Create Engagement: Establishing a relationship is key in finding new leads. Ask the attendee some open-ended questions to break the ice. My favorite question is “What brings you to the show today?” This line works like a charm.
  • Observe: Interacting with attendees can be hard work. Provide a short break after a couple hours for your staffer to grab a snack and a bottle of water. Allow them to take a few steps away from your booth to watch the booth while snacking. This can help your staffer know what the attendees are seeing. This will point out if your booth staffers need to be doing something differently.
  • Enhance your Posture: Stand relaxed with open posture. This will make the staffer look more welcoming than having their back to attendees, head down and crossed arms. Your staffer should keep the most valuable trade show booth staffing tools in their hand, or nearby, at all times. These can be business cards, a clipboard, iPad, or a giveaway item.
  • Address Sticky Situations: If all staffers are busy and there are attendees waiting impatiently respond with, “I will be with you in a moment when I finish this conversation.” If someone is upset make sure to direct them to the Booth captain or someone in management so they can be helped.


  • Many trade show attendees have spent their own money to come to the show to find a solution to their problem. The attendees will often be happy to meet you for this reason!
  • The experience of being at the trade show will allow there to be more face-to-face time than on the road selling. Also, prospects are likely to be more open to talking to you since they are away from some of the demands they face in their offices.
  • Knowing the information about the product or service being sold can help you point out advantages you have to offer. Take a moment to review the web page of your company and make sure to attend any booth staffer training offered.
  • Understanding the company’s strongest competitors will allow you to talk about how your company does it differently and better. If possible, do a quick walk through before the show to see who else is exhibiting and how they compare to your company.
  • Listening to the attendee will help you answer their questions and narrow down whether or not your company is a perfect fit to fulfill their needs.
  • You are selling something you believe in. Confidence is key. Ensure you understand what makes your company special and are prepared to share that with booth visitors.

Providing and applying all these tips to your booth staffers will create relationships, show professionalism, draw in more leads, improve the quality of staffers, create an enjoyable atmosphere, and benefit your company.

About the Author
Kristi is pursuing a marketing degree at Augsburg University. The college senior is a marketing intern with the Skyline marketing team. She has been involved in the trade show business through her experience as a promotional model and booth staffer. She has worked with multiple companies such as Beauty Counter, Unveiled Bridal Show, Twin Cities Bridal Show, Long Hall Trucking, Big Air Tour, Mannequin in Motion, and Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.

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