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Do’s and Don’ts of Trade Show Conversations

It doesn’t matter if you love showing off your company at trade shows or you really don’t enjoy it, they are a very important part of the marketing strategy. You’ll have the chance to show off your products and talk with prospects in person. They also provide a great opportunity to build your brand. When you start preparing for your next trade show, keep these do’s and don’ts for trade show conversations in mind.

Trade Show Dos

Here are a few things you certainly want to do when having a conversation at a trade show.

Use Attendees Names, When Possible

Some of the attendees of trade shows will have name tags so you can easily reference their name. Others may have it on their shirt. If you have the opportunity to use an attendee’s name, when speaking with them, do it. This can be the difference between moving the conversation forward and the attendee walking away as fast as possible.


When you smile, it helps to brighten the day of others around you. It can also put a trade show attendee at ease. Nobody wants to speak with a grumpy Gus, anyway.

Use Specific Questions for Qualifying Leads

When you ask specific questions, you will find out if you’re speaking with a decision-maker for a company or not. You will also find out how quickly they are looking to make a purchase and other goals they may have. Make sure you take notes as you ask specific questions to qualify each lead.

Trade Show Don’ts

Here are a few things you want to avoid doing at or before trade shows you attend.

Talk Bad about the Competition

If you want to look petty, bad mouth the competition. This will send more people you speak to running for the hills than anything else. Instead, talk about what you offer and how it will help, not the competition.

Use Industry Lingo or Terminology

You may know your industry, product, and service better than anybody else, but you have to speak to prospects on their level. You cannot start using lingo they are not familiar with or they won’t understand what you’re talking about.

Start Your Conversation Without Finding Out Who You’re Talking With

You always want to know the person’s name and what they do for their company. It’s also a good idea to find out why they are at the trade show. This will help you to cater to their needs and will also keep you from giving out too much information to a competitor.

Forget about Your Body Language

You can say far more with your body language than with your words. Poor body language will turn off a trade show attendee faster than anything else. You want to make sure you are aware of your body language and what it says during each conversation.

There are many different trade show do’s and don’ts you want to follow. These specific do’s and don’ts fit with the conversations you will have, which may be the most important part of the trade show. Once you have a great booth, an excellent spot and you’re ready to go, it’s important to understand how to have a proper conversation at a trade show. Follow these do’s and don’ts and you will be well on your way.