When Trade Show Conversation Etiquette Goes Bad… and How to Avoid It

We’re all capable of the occasional social blunder in many types of scenarios. The trade show environment is no exception to this either. Many exhibitors can probably tell you about conversation etiquette mistakes made while talking to show attendees. It happens to everyone from time to time but just because these mistakes happen doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided. All it takes is good judgment, a little maturity and a look at the most common conversation mistakes that tend to happen on the trade show floor.

Checking your phone

Technology has become a distraction for many and the phone is the worst offender. No matter how important a text, e-mail or news update may be, checking your phone during a conversation is one of the most insulting gestures. In some countries, the “phone check” is actually punishable by death… seriously. A good rule of thumb for your next event is to avoid using your phone all together when working at your booth. This will prevent you from making this conversational faux pas.

Not knowing your audience

While every show you attend will cater to a specific industry, it’s important to avoid a generic sales pitch for your audiences. Instead, embrace the fact that each conversation you have will give you the opportunity to custom-tailor a solution for the person you’re speaking to. A rehearsed pitch will only have a negative impact on your brand’s credibility.

Talking from your seat

Nothing is more intimidating to a trade show attendee than approaching a table of seated exhibitors. If you find yourself exhibiting behind a table, the best strategy is to stand up when a visitor approaches and talk to them from that position. By doing this, the visitor will feel like you appreciate their presence and he or she will feel more comfortable to keep a conversation going with you.


The occasional use of profanity is certainly acceptable in the right situation, but try to avoid using it when conversing with visitors at your booth. Swearing will always come off as tasteless so make sure to keep things PG with your trade show audiences.

Looking over their shoulder

Nothing is more disrespectful than your eyes drifting off over the shoulder of a visitor you are speaking too, as if you are scoping out other prospects before you even finish speaking to them. Even if a conversation feels like it’s going nowhere, it’s important to give the visitor your full attention until they finish speaking for the sake of respect.

Monopolizing the conversation

I’m fairly certain most trade show attendees don’t want to listen to a company’s representative rant and rave about their brand’s illustriousness. First off, it will deter any visitor’s interest in the company because they’ll automatically think the exhibitor has no interest in their individual needs and secondly, it’s just obnoxious. Avoid any kind of sales pitch all together and focus on just having conversations with show attendees.


This is one of the biggest conversation etiquette mistakes, committed by everybody at one time or another. The easiest way to avoid it is simple: just listen. When a visitor comes to your booth, it’s critical to listen to what they have to say and assess the best response. By offering a personalized solution based on what they say, you’re bound to turn them from a visitor to a client. Remember to just listen. It will benefit you in the long run.

SOURCE: MintLife.com

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