By Robyn Davis, Trade Show Strategy Specialist

One of the biggest challenges exhibitors face today is figuring out how to make their exhibits as successful as possible, on their own, without adequate resources (time, money, support or education). That’s why AEM works so hard to help you prepare for your trade shows.

In this article, I’ll explain four major myths that are preventing exhibitors from creating their best possible trade show teams.

Myth No. 1: “My booth staffers are my entire trade show team.”

Although your booth staffers are an important part of your trade show team, in most cases, they are not your entire trade show team. For example, in addition to the professionals who will engage with attendees in your booth, you also have the professionals who will…

  • Determine your strategy, approve your budget, and complete the logistical elements
  • Design your booth/literature, complete your pre-show marketing outreach, and select/support your on-site attractions (SWAG, demonstrations, catering, etc.)
  • Set up/tear down your display, process your leads/complete your post-show follow up efforts, and evaluate your performance in preparation for next year

All of these professionals - whether they travel to the convention city or not - are an important part of your trade show team; and all of these professionals, not just your booth staffers, should be treated accordingly.

Myth No. 2: “We’d get more leads if our booth staffers were attractive co-eds, preferably women.”

While diversity is important (which, I hope, is the underlying reason for this statement), suggesting that someone can generate more leads than someone else because of their gender or appearance is offensive. Also, it’s inaccurate.

Funny enough, I’ve heard a version of this statement from a different executive at nearly every trade show I’ve participated in... However, with proper training, a good attitude, and the right role, it’s been proven time and time again that any professional can be an effective booth staffer. Don’t doubt your team members – empower them!

Myth No. 3: “My team members are professionals; they’ll be easy to work with and awesome 24/7.”

Famous. Last. Words.

Although trade shows are a serious business for you (and the stakeholders expecting a return on their investment), many booth staffers feel like they’re on vacation when they’re at a trade show. With all of the excitement and over-the-top attractions in each booth (not to mention those off of the show floor and after hours), it’s no surprise that even the most dedicated professionals may become distracted.

In order to set yourself (and your team) up for success, you will need to remember why everyone's at the trade show and reinstate/reinforce the necessary ground rules.

Myth No. 4: “My booth staffers don’t need special trade show training. We already require corporate/sales/media training. Plus, they’ve been to trade shows before.”

This myth is really two falsehoods in one:

First, corporate/sales/media training is not the same as trade show training, because the strategic actions required to be successful in a long term sales and marketing environment are different from what works in the faster paced, higher pressure trade show sales and marketing environment. Your team needs to know the difference in order to be effective in each situation.

Second, just because your team members have been to trade shows before, doesn’t mean that they’ve been doing the right things the whole time. They say “practice makes perfect,” but a more accurate statement would be “perfect practice makes perfect.” If your team members have been practicing the wrong process, they’re just creating bad habits and falling short of their potential. Every booth staffer should be evaluated regularly and strive to continuously optimize their performance.

Now that you know the truth, you’re a step ahead of other exhibitors. But, what will really make the difference is your next move: how you improve your process for selecting, training and working with your entire trade show team based on what you’ve learned here.

Want more information?

Trade Show Strategy Specialist Robyn Davis will be hosting a free, 30-minute webinar called “What Your Team Members Need to Know (Trade Show Training Checklist)” on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 2:30 pm EST, and you’re invited!

To learn more and to and register, visit

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