Let’s assume you have selected the best staffers from your company to represent you in your trade show booth and have an exciting exhibit that’s designed to support your goals. When your trade show opens, your staff should be confident that they know your company’s goals at the show. WHY are you here? An unclear objective creates an unprofitable show experience. Everything your staff does at a show should contribute to your over-arching company goal for exhibiting.

Those strategy meetings that your marketing and sales leadership have 6-9 months prior to the show will set the tone, but training the people that will actually be present in your booth is vital. Your booth-staff should already know how to interact with attendees and engage them appropriately (Read more on Trade Show Staff Training Tips here), but you should reinforce show goals with a kick-off meeting the evening before and pre-show meetings every morning before the show opens.

Pre-Show Meeting Tips:

Kick-Off Meeting

This meeting should be held the evening before the show opens. It is best to have the senior-most company representative hold this meeting; if a President or Vice-President is attending, they are the best choice for this meeting. The senior manager should reinforce your company’s top goals and objectives for being at the show. Often times that senior manager will not be in the booth the entire time and has assigned a booth manager- this person should then review every staff members role throughout the show. Who’s doing what? It’s great to get the whole staff involved in this kick-off meeting as well maybe with some games or last minute role-playing contests that will boost the entire staff morale. Make sure that objectives are clearly outlined and maybe set-up a contest for your booth-staff surrounding those goals- whoever makes the most sales or generates the most qualified leads or gets the best guest feedback… make winning COUNT!

Pre-Show Meeting

This meeting, or series of daily meetings, should be conducted by the booth manager maybe over breakfast or in your exhibit 30-45 minutes before the show opens. This meeting is a great time to review specific daily objectives; how many leads or sales should each team member aim for? how many current clients should be met with? how long should each interaction last? who is our primary target (based on badge color)? This meeting should also cover the staffing schedule- who breaks when, who covers who etc. Your daily pre-show meeting should include a few minutes to discuss post-show feedback from the previous day- what worked, what didn’t, what we can do better today.

Pre-Show meetings work. Remember, trade shows are a unique environment, can be stressful, and sometimes feel unnatural. Making sure your staff stays on target with pre-show meetings is an opportunity for success that you just can’t pass up!