If you have ever worked a tradeshow, you know how exhausting it can be to stay on your toes all day with the enthusiasm to grab attendees’ attention. For this reason, class has begun!
Tradeshow Survival 101:
Lesson #1: Wear suitable attire.
We understand you likely have some sort of uniform required, whether you were given general guidelines or an outfit picked out for you to wear from head-to-toe. Unless your apparel has been chosen for you down to the style of your sock, we suggest taking advantage of the choices you get to make.
If you can help it, avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes or shoes with poor arch support since you will be on your feet throughout the tradeshow. Also, wear worn-in shoes. New shoes are not broken-in and will quickly become bothersome. Aching feet (and subsequent leg and back aches) are No. 1 hassles tradeshow workers should avoid.
If you can choose your own clothes, choose items you have previously worn and can count on being comfortable. If you must wear new clothes, be sure put them in the wash beforehand, and add fabric softener if you have it.
Avoiding poor footwear and uncomfortable clothes is crucial, because your pain and irritation will translate to your disposition while talking up your business to the booth visitors.
Lesson #2: Be prepared.
Pack like a paranoid mom would for a road trip. Be sure to bring a supply kit to the tradeshow. This kit should include the essentials for any potential mini-emergency. So for example, pack for your team: eye drops, Band-Aids, aspirin, Tums and pieces of chocolate (for their sanity and a bite of happiness). Don’t forget extra supplies for your displays. Sometimes old display clips will break. If you have extra clips or something you can turn into an attachment bring it. The last thing you need is a display that looks like it’s melting in the heat.
Have water to stay hydrated and refreshed while talking to booth visitors for hours. Remember some large facilities where tradeshows are held are not humidified or properly ventilated, so water is going to be your best friend.
Another good friend will be mints. Mints help you and your team to maintain fresh breath throughout the day (especially after lunch). The last thing you want is scare visitors away from your booth with your team’s bad breath. Another benefit to mints is the little boost of sugar they give your body– helpful in avoiding fatigue as the day passes.
Lesson #3: Keep energized and at your best performance throughout the day.
Your final lesson to learn how to stay at your “A” game, is to take breaks. Going all day long without your usual office and lunch breaks is exhausting and ineffective. Breaks are key in re-boosting the energy of the booth staff. However, the booth needs to be readily staffed all day. This is where properly staffing your booth is vital. Take turns throughout the day by leaving the booth to get some fresh air, a snack and socialize with the other vendors.
Having lunch at the booth looks tacky and unprofessional. So use these breaks to get food or bring a sack lunch with you to eat outside of the tradeshow booth.
Tradeshows tend to have highs and lows in booth traffic. Use the lows to your advantage by walking to other booths and networking with the exhibitors. These encounters may spark viable professional relationships. Other vendors might be looking for something to do during a slow hour and may be open to a business sales pitch. Be attentive and respectful to pitches they may give you in return.
Class adjourned. Your homework is to apply these lessons and your next tradeshow and give us feedback on how they helped your day sail smoothly!