Conversations to Best Avoid at a Trade Show

Face PalmIt’s great to hear visitors to your trade show booth say things like, “You’ve got just what I need!” or “We love working with your company!” or “Your booth really caught my eye!”

But because trade shows are so complicated, it’s possible that, no matter how much you prepare, something could go wrong.  And as the trade show manager, you’re probably the first one who’s going to hear about it.

How bad could it be?  Well, hearing any of these 21 things in your trade show exhibit will sound as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard:


During set up:                                         

  • “Your shipper’s truck driver never arrived at the loading dock.”

    “We can’t find your shipping containers.”

    “Sorry, that early-bird discount has expired.  Now it costs 30% more.”

    “I don’t know how to set up your booth – and I can’t find the instructions.”

    “You’re not allowed to set that up by yourself.”

    “Our other booth staffer missed his flight last night.”

    “Our other booth staffer got violently sick last night.”

    “Our other booth staffer shaved his head and joined a cult last night.”

    “Your trade show booth breaks 3 trade show booth size regulations.”

During the show:

  • “Is that a typo on your booth graphics?”

    “Our internet connection went down.”

    “Actually, we just signed a deal with your competitor two aisles over.”

    “According to our lawyers, your new product infringes on our patent.”

    “Hi, my boss asked me to sub for him booth staffing.  It’s my first day of work for the company.”

    “Wow, you’re still offering that technology?”

    “I want to talk to your boss, right now!”

    “That’s not what your local office said.”

    “That’s not what your headquarters said.”

    “That’s an interesting product feature, but it really doesn’t solve my needs.”

    “So, what is it that your company does?”

    After the show:
    “I thought you packed the leads!”

What can you do if you hear words like these in your booth?  Forewarned is forearmed.

Have a thick hide, but a soft touch.  Keep your calm, and be flexible to find unconventional solutions.  Handle the situation well, and then you might hear your boss say, “I’m sure glad you were there to save the day!”

What have you heard in your trade show booth that made you cringe?  Let us know in the comments box below.



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