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Angels Advice


January 2007
Angels makes the odds of success greater for five major companies.

Advice for Exhibition Staff

Making a Show a Success

Angels provides, and is well known for providing, the most attractive and professional promotion, hospitality, reception and demonstration staff for exhibition stands (booths to our American friends!) but, if you are working at an exhibition, what is expected of you? What is being on a stand all about? What are the basic standards of behaviour expected of you? How does a stand operate? What does the Stand Manager do?

All good questions! Hopefully this section of our web site will help you answer some of them and give you some guidelines as to what to expect - especially if you are a promotion or hospitality person who is going to work for a client at a major show. You will want to be successful and the client will want you to be too! There is no substitute for formal pre-show exhibition staff training (which Angels can provide). Here we give some outlines that will help you.  Read on......

Who Does What?

There are two people and two groups of people you will find at an exhibition. The first is the exhibition stand/booth organiser - the person who booked the show, got the stand built and made sure that everything that was supposed to be there was actually there before the show opens. In bigger organisations this may well be a team with a manager.

The second person is the Stand/Booth Manager - the person that manages the stand or booth on a day-to-day basis during the show and is responsible for the smooth running of the event. The Stand/ Booth Manager is also the "go to" person for any problems during the show.  The role of the Stand/ Booth Manage is discussed below.

Stand build up - make sure it is all finished before the show opens!The first group of people are the staff provided by the company that is exhibiting. These folks can (and should be!) key sales people from the company as well as administration staff, demonstration staff, technical staff, etc. and product marketing representatives as appropriate. The number of people will be dependent on the size of the show and the exhibition stand or booth. (Never over-populate your stand or booth with your own staff! They should not outnumber the customers!).

You will also find that there will be "visiting dignitaries" - in other words, senior management, vice presidents and directors from the company. They may have a role or may just be visitors.

The second group of people are those that are hired in for the show to perform specific tasks or play specific roles to help make the show a success. This group includes promotion staff, VIP hospitality staff, reception staff ("meeters and greeters"), demonstration staff, brand ambassadors and entertainment staff, such as close-up magicians, that are there to help get the stand's message across to the visitors and customers.

The roles and responsibilities of the staff are covered in this section. This applies to company staff and hired in staff. Both must act as a seamless team when presenting and representing the company.

Staff Should be Chosen Wisely

The staff chosen to represent the company should not necessarily be the obvious candidates - the company should have picked the best! The results of the exhibition will be almost entirely dependent on the choice of staff. So if you are chosen to represent the company (whether you are a company employee or, for example, a promotion person hired in) you should take the role very seriously. The company is investing a huge sum in being at the show and should expect, as well as a good return on its investment, total commitment from its staff during the show. Being there and on time is extremelyAngels at the Motorcycle Show important.

Exhibitions are a major selling opportunity and all staff should be comprehensively briefed beforehand. Make sure that you are. The company should employ professional and talented promotional staff if the company is to benefit from having them assist with the exhibition - call Angels or see our web site section Angels in Action to see what Angels staff have done previously for shows.

The company will have picked people that can turn potential customers into your prospective customers and have no trouble speaking to complete strangers. If you are a promotional person that has been hired for exhibition duties, you will be the same type of person - outgoing, confident, knowledgeable and professional. Afterall, you are not just there to look good! You are there to help the client get new customers and generate incremental business for the company.

For more information and tips on staffing and overall exhibition organisation,  see Exhibition Organisers: Making a Show a Success.

Make Sure You Know Why You Are There

It might sound obvious. But its not! The company should be really clear with you about your objectives and how much the company is Brief your stand staff well!investing in being at the show. This will help you understand the importance of the show and how much being absent from the stand, when you are not supposed to be, actually costs the company!

The company should be clear about what results the company is expecting and how those results will be measured. Note that exhibition sales leads often convert to sales for the company much more easily and quickly than traditional cold call sales. So your task of getting new leads for the company is hugely important.

Companies will attend shows for many reasons. The company should be clear with you about the ones that are most important to the company, for example: generation of qualified leads, making direct sales, increasing corporate visibility, supporting awareness campaigns for the company or new products, meeting existing customers as well as new ones or perhaps launching and demonstrating new products. You should be briefed on what your role is in any of these objectives.

Whatever the reason that you have been chosen to represent the company at the show, while you are there you are all working to the same end. You are all part of the same team for the duration of the show and you should support each other as team members. The company will be perceived by the outside world as you display it!

The Do's and Don'ts of Staffing and Exhibition Stand

It might sound obvious, but the way in which you behave and conduct yourself on the stand or booth will determine whether visitors feel invited to walk onto the company's stand or both or shy away. Your whole demeanor makes such a difference to the success of the stand or booth that it cannot be overemphasised. Your approach to visitors and customers will determine whether they will listen to your opening question or rapidly walk off! How to make that first approach is covered below. So here are some pointers to success in your role as company representative:


Trade shows and exhibitions are arduous environments. They are hard work and tiring when done properly. Especially the first day when everyone is on edge anticipating the success of the event!

So ... be prepared! Apart from an early night the day before the show, take some basic precautions to make sure your day will go well and comfortably. For example, make sure your shoes are comfortable as you will be doing a lot of walking and spending most of the day on your feet. As to what clothes to wear, this will be entirely dependent on what the company has decided. It may be that you will wear your own clothes of a specified type or you will be provided with a uniform or shirts with the company logo. Promotional folks will often wear purpose made clothes or uniforms. The organiser of the show will tell you what to wear, the Stand or Booth Manager will enforce the rules during the show!

You will probably be required to attend a stand or booth briefing before the show opens. This will either be the night before or on the stand or booth on the morning the show opens. You must make sure that you attend these briefings - they are extremely important to the smooth running of the show and all of the detail will be discussed during these briefings.

Last of all, make sure you have your badge and exhibition pass. There is nothing worse than getting to the show and not being able to get in!

What is Expected of You

You are expected to represent the company in the best possible way. To the visitor, you are the company and the impression the visitor has of the company will come directly from you. Exhibitions are harder than being in the office. Here are some of the reasons that is the case:

  • Unfamiliar surroundings.

  • Lots of unfamiliar distractions.

  • You talk far more than you do in the office.

  • You deal with many types of people you do not normally see.

  • You are expected to instantly know the answers to everything.

  • Your timekeeping is expected to be far more rigorous.

Here is a list of "The Don'ts" of exhibition stand and booth participation. Some of them are obvious, some are not. All of them have been ignored or abused by exhibition staff at every show! Try not to break the rules!

  • Never eat on a stand

  • Never drink on a stand

  • Never leave glasses, cups or rubbish on the stand

  • Never chew gun

  • Never smoke

  • Never read books or magazines

  • Never stand around chatting with your colleagues

  • Never stand in groups in the aisle by the stand

  • Never stand on the edge of the stand with your arms folded

  • Never sit down when you should be on duty

  • Never use crude language or swear

  • Never put on makeup

  • Never allow literature other than yours to be displayed

  • Never ignore anyone who comes onto the stand

  • Never leave a stand unattended

  • Never leave the stand without Stand Manager knowing

  • Never be late back from breaks or lunch

  • Never get in the way of customers on the stand

  • Never ignore a customer on the stand

..... and here is a list of "Do's":

  • Always be on time

  • Always be of smart appearance

  • Always be presentable before you get to the stand

  • Always be alert

  • Always be positive in your actions

  • Always be approachable

  • Always be personable

  • Always talk to visitors and customers

  • Always keep yourself motivated

  • Always ask the Stand Manager for permission to leave the stand

Communication with Customers

Your opening line with a customer will determine whether he or she stays on the stand or booth to see and learn more, or walks off without giving you the opportunity to talk with them further or turn from a "suspect" into a "prospect" for the company. Here is the one opening line almost guaranteed to close off a potential conversation:

"Can I help you?"

Why is this bad even though it is an obvious question to ask? It is bad because the visitor can stop the conversation in its tracks by saying "No". Generally, a question that begs a single word answer is a bad question. Even when the answer is a "Yes".  So think hard about the first question you ask a visitor. Make it a question that will get more than a one word answer and will start a conversation. Even "What brings you to our stand today?" is better than "Can I help you?".

Also remember that visitors to exhibitions generally spend an average of 4 to 5 hours at the show and expect to get around as many exhibition stands or booths as possible. So make sure you are able to deal quickly and effectively with a visitor and get that essential qualified sales lead. Do not spend ages with only one visitor.

Responsibilities of the Stand or Booth Manager

If you are the Stand or Booth Manager, you have your own selection of Do's and Don'ts and you have a select set of responsibilities. The Stand or Booth Manager's job includes:

  • Making sure that planning for the show is completed prior to the show opening

  • Making sure that the correct staff have been selected for the stand or booth

  • Making sure that the booth/stand is complete on the morning of the opening of the show

  • Making sure that all equipment is functional and all demonstrations operative

  • Briefing the staff before the show opens and debriefing them at the end of the day

  • Making sure that all staff are well dressed and smart

  • Making sure that the stand or booth is tidy and clean at all times

  • Making sure that all staff are on time especially when going on breaks

  • Making sure that all staff are where they should be at all times

  • Making sure that all customers and prospects are dealt with speedily and efficiently

  • Making sure all sales leads are correctly recorded

As a member of the stand or booth staff, you must respect the Stand or Booth Manager's role and respond to the Stand or Booth Manager's requests. It is all about making the exhibition stand or booth as successful as possible!


Exhibitions can be hard work. They can be real business winners if done right and they can be fun! Especially if you follow the basic rules of staffing an exhibition stand or booth.


Remember that as a member
 of the Angels Team you can
help make our clients'
exhibitions a success!


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