I promise not to use the phrase thou shalt not within this post. But, I will write out the unspoken rules of trade show etiquette. Sometimes we just need a little reminder, right?

Trade Show Etiquette Explained

  1. Set appointments with prospects while you are at the trade show. Don’t put it off until you get home. Our lives are so busy. Once you get home, it’s hard to remember that one guy you were supposed to call, or the woman who was interested in partnering with you in some way. Get their information and set those meetings while you are standing face to face. This will also ensure that they really are interested in moving forward.

  2. This trade show is yours. Act like it. Make friends with social media, and take on the responsibility of promoting this show. Beyond social media, it’s also a great idea to take the time to make sure that the people you want to meet are in attendance. Nothing says “engraved invitation” like personal correspondence.

  3. Kindness matters to everyone. Trade shows can get hectic. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. You are running on very little sleep in a cramped hotel room, and on your feet all day… It’s easy to get cranky. But, people always seem to remember the interactions where they were treated with kindness…and they also remember to avoid the rude people. Kindness always matters.

  4. You are here to grow your industry. While it is common to attend a trade show in hopes of promoting your business and making major deals, there is also an unspoken rule. You know the one. Everyone seems to roll their eyes at the guy that gets up to speak and only promotes his own product or service… It isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s a major turnoff. Remember, growing your industry is just as important as selling your stuff.

  5. Welcome competition. You are attending this trade show to meet as many new contacts as you can. Understanding your customers’ needs means understanding what your competitors are offering. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself. Don’t be a hater.

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~Tony Johnson