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Zen and the Art of Booth Staffing

zen trade show booth staffingHave you ever seen – or been – a Zen Master Booth Staffer?

Booth staffing can be scary:  You talk a parade of strangers.  You have to know everything about your company’s products, services, employees, competitors, and industry.  You are essentially making small presentations (which people fear more than death), one after the other, for days on end.  Your performance can directly affect your company’s future.

All that pressure can easily make a booth staffer self-conscious and uptight.  Not the right frame of mind for warmly meeting attendees and persuading them that your company is the best thing since sliced bread.

What Makes A Zen Master Trade Show Booth Staffer?

A Zen Master Booth Staffer thrives in such tense circumstances, because they know this is also the mindset of many attendees.  They greet attendees with genuine warmth, help attendees to relax, and become their true friend as they help them find a solution.

Zen Master Booth Staffers are not overburdened trying to remember and share every detail about your company, its products, and how yours are better than your competition.   They listen with a clear mind to what attendees truly need, and intuitively share only the part of your story that will persuade that individual visitor.

Just as a Zen Master is at peace with the mysteries of life, a Zen Master Booth Staffer is at peace with the chaos of the show floor.  They have solved the contradiction of truly helping attendees find what they need, and selling for your company in your trade show display.

I have seen a Zen Master Booth Staffer, who had a sore throat from talking with so many attendees, that she sat in the middle of the booth to minimize more talking.  But because she exuded so much calmness and good will, attendees actually sought her out, walking past other booth staffers on the aisle to talk with her.

Can you become a Zen Master Booth Staffer?  Perhaps, if you can forget most of what you have been taught, and see again with the eyes of a child.  You know you are there when you take many more leads, truly quality leads, and are not drained, but are at peace after a booth staffing shift.

Can you recognize when others have attained the level of a Zen Master Booth Staffer?  Yes, when they are near the top of the list for both lead counts – and enjoyment – at every show.  Keep track of these wise people, and ask them to staff as much as you can.

Trade Show Booth Staffing Guidebook85% of your trade show success depends on your booth staff. Get insightful articles, worksheets, and checklists to make your staff the best in the Booth Staffing Guidebook.  Click here to request your free copy of the 48-page book. 

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

5 responses to “Zen and the Art of Booth Staffing

  1. Lovely post!

    Here is another zen technique. Tough no doubt but something wonderful to explore.

    When you’re not focused on one outcome, you open the possibility for many outcomes. We are taught to be focused on goal-setting (outcome) and pursue it. In doing so, we dismiss other possibilities. But what if you have no predetermined directed outcome? Now that opens up infinite possibilities. Doesn’t it?

    The important thing is to have fun in what you do and be in the moment.

  2. Another key point, is that the staffer that you have in the booth must be able to adequately handle all necessary technologies. We are seeing, now, the introduction of mobile devices at nearly every trade show we attend for Avitrol ( This being the case, the staffer should not only know their way around the device, but they should be proficient enough to demonstrate your product to the client via mobile device. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was never truer than in this instance.


    ~ Leron
    Avitrol Corp.

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