5 Tips to Engage Trade Show Attendees

Woman talking with a visitor at a trade show

When you exhibit at a trade show, you’re coming into direct contact with your audience. Unfortunately, you’re also stepping into the arena with every other vendor competing for the same audience. That’s why, before you even set up your trade show booth, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to engage trade show attendees.

1. Make Eye Contact

It might seem like something out of an old Dracula movie, but people respond to eye contact. It makes you more approachable to trade show attendees. Humans are social animals, and when someone holds their eye, it halts them in their tracks. Add a wave and a conversation opener, a quick joke, or just a “Hi” and people will stop long enough for you to make your pitch.

2. Giveaways

Everyone loves free stuff. Whether you have a table full of swag for people to choose from, or you have entries for one big prize, it will slow down passerbys. Have promotional items that offer value and have a useful purpose. Even better, if they take something with your name and information on it, they’re more likely to remember you.

3. Get on Your Soap Box

On old-fashioned carnival midways, barkers would get up on their boxes, raise their voices, and try to intrigue passerbys with a pitch. While you don’t have to go that far, don’t be afraid to call out to people walking by. You’re casting a lure, and if you’re making noise, people are going to come see what the commotion is about. If you’re not excited about what you’re offering, chances are the trade show attendees won’t be either.

4. Create an Inviting Environment

If you’ve set up a trade show booth that’s crowded, small or boring, people are going to avoid it. As such, make sure your booth is open, friendly, and inviting to everyone who walks by. You want your trade show booth to suck them in, so design it in such a way that there’s a smooth flow to your exhibit and booth space conducive to the flow of foot traffic.

5. Be Friendly, Polite, & Engaging

You know when telemarketers call you up, and you can almost read the script along with them? If their voice sounds bored, hurried or unemotional you are already done with their pitch, regardless of what they’re selling. Be engaging, friendly, and polite. Those are qualities people respond to, and they’re more likely to stop and talk rather than walking on with a nod or a wave. Offer a genuine “hello” with the intent to engage trade show attendees in conversation. Once you have their attention they will be more receptive to your offerings.

Trade shows can be extremely beneficial to a business and should be considered in your marketing plans. If you’d like more information on how to have the best trade show booth, or tips on how to have a great show, all you have to do is contact us today!


  1. Excellent blog you have here but I was curious about if you
    knew of any community forums that cover the same
    topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be
    a part of community where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that share
    the same interest. If you have any recommendations,
    please let me know. Thanks a lot!

  2. Thank you for the tips about interacting with people at a trade show. My sister is planing on going to tradeshows with her business. I am sure that she would appreciate this article for when she goes!

  3. I like that you said that it’s smart to make sure that your trade booth looks open and friendly to help make people want to come to it. I think it would be smart to also make sure that your table display was interesting and fun to look at so that you could have a good way to get people interested and have something to talk about once they got there. That would probably help make sure that you could stay busy and that you could get more customers as well. Thanks for the tips on engaging trade show attendees.

  4. I found it helpful that you mentioned how being polite and showing enthusiasm can help get people’s attention during a trade show. My wife would like to open a clothing business and needs to find some energetic people that can wear some of her products and answer questions thoughtfully during an upcoming trade show. Maybe she should look for a model that can help engage people that approach her booth.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *