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Best Practices for Facilitating a Pre-Show Strategic Briefing

By Keith Reznick

85% of an exhibitor’s success is determined by the people staffing the exhibit. Unfortunately, many exhibits are staffed with well-meaning people who are experts in their area of specialization but often lack the training and/or experience required to engage attendees and conduct conversations of mutual interest and value. Many are particularly uncomfortable with:

To increase your exhibit staff’s skills and effectiveness in these areas, allocate time during your pre-show strategic briefing to discuss (and if possible practice):

  • Engaging attendees with open-ended questions:
  • Identify / qualify sales opportunities with open-ended questions:
  • The importance – for both your company and attendees – of capturing accurate attendee information and setting the stage for the most appropriate post-show follow-up:
  • Respect and Leverage Experience

    Respect and leverage your more experienced exhibit workers’ expertise. Defer to them to suggest best practices and answer questions. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Even when you do know, draw the answer out of pre-show meeting participants to: 1) keep them involved; and 2) help people get to know each other (it will make it easier for them to work as a team during the show).

    Facilitation Suggestions:

  • Establish your role as the leader, but have fun doing so.
  • Create short small group exercises to enable people get to know each other.
  • Don’t explain the Do’s and Don’ts (they might think you’re talking down to them). Instead, ask your exhibit staff to assume the role of a mentor coaching someone at their first show. Give them a list of Do’s and Don’ts ask which ones they’d convey are the most important.
  • Be upbeat, enthusiastic and motivational – it’s contagious.
  • For additional insights contact Keith Reznick by phone 856-784-3466 or email

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