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Trade shows offer brands an opportunity to showcase products and services through face-to-face interactions with prospects and customers, and in turn, they can experience exponential growth. And while there are a variety of ways to achieve that growth, there is one essential component of a trade show that has the biggest impact on its success – the people running the booth.  Trade show staff serve as a direct representation of the brand itself, becoming the face and voice of the product or service, and in the end are ones who can win over (or lose) potential customers.  Here, we take a look at a few best practices for effective trade show staffing.

Best Practices for Effective Trade Show Staffing

Appropriately Staff Your Booth

Trade show crowds vary in size and by industry, as do exhibit booths. When you are planning your activation, keep in mind the number of visitors that will be passing by and staff your booth accordingly.  The last thing you want is an under-staffed booth that results in missed opportunities.  This formula can help you determine how many staff you will need for your exhibit.

Find the Right People for Your Exhibit

Trade shows are an opportunity for growth, not a guarantee. To reach your goals and maximize your ROI, you’ll need to have the right people representing your brand.  Having trade show staff who are experienced, knowledgeable, charismatic, and reliable are all critical components for having a successful trade show booth experience. Hiring an event staffing agency is one of the most efficient and effective ways to outsource the task and ensure your staff are up to par, not to mention, it frees up a tremendous amount of your time in terms of recruiting, onboarding, training, staff management, and payroll.  A staffing agency will take care of everything for you from pre-activation to post-activation, managing every detail, and will provide solutions for any issues that may arise.

Let Your Staff Shine

Get to know your team and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on the specific skill sets of your staff and assign roles based on their skills and attributes.  Some may be better suited in a greeter role while others may be better at generating leads.  If you do hire an event staffing agency, be specific about what each role entails and what your expectations are so they can source and hire the appropriate staff and assign roles based on your needs.

Knowledge is Power

Your trade show staff needs to be well-versed on all things related to your brand and your offerings.  They should understand your business, your KPIs, and what you expect to get out of the trade show itself.  Your staff should also be able to confidently convey messaging and answer questions.  Providing thorough training for your staff and ensuring that they are knowledgeable about your business will result in a quality and positive experience for attendees.

First Impressions are Everything

It may seem superficial to focus on the appearance of your trade show staff, but after you have worked so hard to create a visually appealing space that will attract people to your booth, it only makes sense that your staff present themselves appropriately, too.  After all, they are the ones on the front lines and will be the first to interact with attendees. When preparing your staff for a trade show, make sure you spell out your expectations when it comes to their appearance, clothing, and etiquette (no eating, drinking, cell phone usage, etc.).  First impressions go a long way and you want attendees to leave your booth feeling good about your brand.

Focus on Building Trust

When we think of our brand growing exponentially, our first thought might be how to effectively pitch our products to clients or consumers.  While it’s important to be well versed in what you have to offer, it’s even more essential that you invest in building relationships with your prospects.  Your trade show staff needs to understand the importance of creating a positive rapport with attendees.  And, creating these relationships begins with establishing a sense of trust.  There are so many things that your staff can do to build trust.  Some of the most notable are body language, facial expressions, making eye contact, and of course, greeting everyone with a smile.

Communication is Key

Communication is the key to success for any business.  And when we talk about communication, we’re not just talking about what you have to say.  We’re talking about listening to customer needs and being able to reciprocate what they are trying to tell you.  When you listen to people, you hear what they need or want.  And, when you hear what they need or want, you have the opportunity to provide solutions.  Keep this in mind when training your trade show staff and ensure that communication is a core topic.

Follow Up

Post-event questionnaires or surveys can give you vital information about your event.  Follow up with your staff and get their feedback about the exhibit, noteworthy attendee comments or questions, or any hiccups that arose.  Anything that you feel is valuable in helping you succeed should be covered.


Trade shows offer both B2B and B2C companies an ideal setting to reach customers and prospects. Having trade show staff who understand your business, your goals, and the principles of communication will bolster your position as a leader on the trade show floor.  More importantly, it will result in an incredible attendee experience and increased ROI.

ATN is a leading nationwide event staffing agency that focuses on providing top-notch and qualified staff for trade shows, experiential and event marketing activations, corporate events and more.  Contact ATN today to learn more about our trade show staffing solutions.