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10 Easy Things Exhibit Managers Can Bring to Trade Shows to Entice Booth Staffers to be More Productive

We all know that trade shows are the most cost effective way to meet with the most amount of customers and potential customers in the least amount of time.  And we all know that we must be on our best booth staff behavior from the moment we leave arrive at our home base airport to the moment we touchdown back home.  But let’s face it, amongst all of the positive benefits and fun times we have, trade shows are hard work and very tiring.  So wouldn’t it be nice to make trade show life easier?

Here are 10 easy things exhibit managers can bring to a trade show to make the whole process easier and more efficient for booth staffers:

1. Briefcase Storage -With all of our tech toys that we carry around and consequently use to provide a visual representation of the story we are telling…wouldn’t it be nice to have a place in the booth to store our bags?  The bag check lines are waaaay too long and we need to have easy access.  A little manipulating of closest space with shelving units will go a long way to avoid headaches…and back aches!

2. Coat Rack -Speaking of long lines…the coat check line is just as bad. And how many of us have forgotten to retrieve our coats or had them “misplaced?”  Hooks can be built into the inside of cabinet walls or even hidden behind a curtain in meeting rooms.  And they are just as useful when the weather is warm…think of all the times that the convention center has not turned on the air conditioning and all we want to do is take our jackets off until we cool down.

3. Umbrella Bin -And now that we have mentioned the weather…think of how often it rains during a trade show.  Although we like the rain during show hours because attendees don’t have an excuse to run outside and play, it is not so fun to get caught in it while on our way to the convention center.  Something as simple as plastic bags and a big plastic bin can keep all of those umbrellas out of sight without watering the floor of the booth.

4. Water & Snacks -But we do need to water our bodies and wet our whistles, especially with all of the talking we are doing with attendees. There never seems to be a place to get a quick drink or bite to eat near the booth, the lines are super long once we get there, and let’s not even talk about the price!  Think of how much time, money, and energy will be saved by providing water and (healthy, energizing) snacks in the booth!

5. Charging Station -Speaking of energizing…how often do our mobile devices lose their juice halfway through the day due to all of the use they are getting?  Something as simple as a power strip in a cabinet with a few common chargers (Blackberry, iPhone, Android, iPad, PC, Mac) will keep us “plugged in” to our contacts and our data without having to leave the booth or miss important info.

6. Master List of All Employees at the Show -And isn’t it awful when we miss important info, conversations, or contacts because we have stepped away from the booth for a moment?  Or think of all the times we are at a trade show and do not know all of the company employees in the booth because we have never met them before or because they are from another city, or even another country.  Keeping a master list of every single company employee who is at the trade show, even if they do not have booth duty, is an easy way to enable an attendee to feel that they are being properly assisted.  And adding cell phone numbers allows for instant access to ensure that impromptu appointments are never missed.  On top of that, every company employee should have a paper and/or digital copy of this list because we never know when attendees will want to reach out to one of our colleagues…or where we will be when they ask!

7. Schedule of Booth Staffers -And one of the things that attendees always ask is when so-and-so will be in the booth.  Having a schedule of booth staffers allows attendees to stop back by as their schedule permits.  This schedule is also beneficial for internal use because it allows company employees to know who is in the booth with them and their area of expertise.

8. Envelope for Business Cards to Take Back to the Office -But what about all of the company employees who are asked about but not on-site at the trade show?  An easy way to get them a message is to have a large envelope and write personal notes on business cards for distribution when the “envelope handler” returns to the office.

9. Office Supplies -And speaking of envelopes, how often do we need an office supply at a trade show?  No matter how “paperless” of a booth we have or how prepared we are when we travel, we still need the basics like pens, highlighters, sticky notes, tape, staplers, rubber bands, paper clips, scissors and anything else that will make our life convenient on the trade show floor.  A small plastic bin can house everything all in one place.

10. First Aid Kit -More items that can be housed all in one place are basic first aid items such as band aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers (ibuprofrin, acetominaphine, aspirin), Tums, Imodium, allergy medicine, and cough drops.  Clothing malfunction items such as safety pins, needle/thread, and hem tape are always appreciated for a quick fix as well!

I have worked with exhibitors who have brought foot massagers, gel insoles, fizzy vitamin C packets, uplifting room sprays, and even ice cream to their booth! What else can you think of that will make life easier and more efficient for booth staffers…and consequently allow them to be more productive?

Booth Staffing Guidebook Those are just a few ways to make your booth staffers more productive. For even more ideas, click here to get your free copy of the 48-page Booth Staffing Guidebook, chock-full of helpful articles, worksheets and checklists to help your booth staffers thrive on the trade show floor.

About the Author

Emilie Barta is a trade show presentation strategist, marketer, designer, and presenter. She has attracted qualified decision makers out of the aisle and into the booth for exhibitors at over 300 trade shows around the world for 15+ years. For more information on how Emilie and her team of trade show pros can bring you recognition + results on the trade show floor, please visit http://www.emiliebarta.com/exhibitors.

Follow Emilie on Twitter at www/twitter.com/EmilieBarta and on Facebook at www/facebook.com/EmilieBarta.

6 responses to “10 Easy Things Exhibit Managers Can Bring to Trade Shows to Entice Booth Staffers to be More Productive

  1. Great advice Emilie and I wish that everyone would follow it. I don’t know how many times I’d watch booth managers give out the mandate, no bags or briefcases in the booth. (What woman will travel even across the room without her purse?) only to have everyone show up with a computer bag and big purse and stuff them into the literature cabinet or just leave them lying against the back wall. Just provide them a place to stash their stuff already!

    Protein bars are great for a quick energy boost during booth duty. Just make sure you have an assortment for those with allergies.

    The greatest thing about this advice…none of these add to your trade show budget (other than a bit of water and snacks).

    1. Thanks Traci! I am all about organization and efficiency, so I do hope exhibit managers start bringing these items to their trade shows booths…it truly is the little things that make life easier. And you are correct in that they make little to no impact on a trade show budget. Just another reason why I think they are easy!

  2. A lot of these suggestions are useful, however sometimes it is not always practical to have a storage area for briefcases etc.
    As an events manager, I totally agree that in an ideal world, it would be great to have storage on every stand. However, space does not always allow this (try having a 9m2 stand, with tables, chairs and banner stands, where exactly would this storage go without everyone climbing over one another to get on and off the stand?!) and equally budget (believe me, show organisers are out to get as much money as they can, and therefore DO charge for furniture hire, or to add a built in storage cupboard!)

    1. I truly believe that storage can be fit into any booth of any size with a little bit of creative thinking, Stella. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy…nor does it have to cost a lot of money. It just has to allow briefcases, bags, etc to be tucked away and out of sight, as well as conveniently accessed. Good luck! :)

  3. Excellent article, Emilie.

    Speaking of allergies, that mention of room spray got to me. Being highly allergic to fragrance, if I were in a nearby booth I would get very sick. The thing about spray or fragrance in general is that you can’t keep it in your booth.

    In a small booth, a draped table can help a lot with storage of bags, coats, supplies, charging phones, etc. It may not seem as stylish, but in the end your booth will be less cluttered with those things out of the way.

    Carey

    (Anne) Carey, CMP
    Meeting & Event professional
    Chicago

    1. Thanks Carey! If scent is a concern, there are many non-scented and all-natural sprays that can be used. Another possibility is using essential oils or a mixture of white vinegar + water. Hope this helps!

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