Man vs. trade show — the basic survival guide

From consuming his own waste through a snake skin filter, to climbing Everest eighteen months after breaking his back, Bear Grylls is the ultimate master of survival. However, if you have ever worked on a stand at a trade show, you might think even Bear Grylls wouldn’t know how to survive. From sore feet to interacting with the continuous crowds, our top tips to survive a trade show might just help to see you through the battle. 

By Jade Sammons, senior account executive

Trade shows; you either love them or hate them. Regardless of your opinion there is no denying they can be an utterly draining experience. Having attended several shows myself, there are a few top tips from my trade show tick list that I’d like to share, to hopefully ease your trade show trauma.

Survival kit
If you’re working on a stand for a day or longer, putting together a survival kit to cover every eventuality can help solve the trickiest of problems. My kit includes:

  • Bottles of water 
  • Cartons of fruit juice to provide a sugar boost
  • Quick-to-grab snacks like granola bars or biscuits – be careful of crumbs though!
  • Chewing gum - (to help with any unexpectedly smelly trade show food)
  • A pack of plasters, pain killers, tissues, hand sanitizer
  • A basic stationary kit — spare pens, notepads, card, colourful markers
  • An extended office kit —  sticky tape, scissors, blue tack, batteries and USB sticks
  • A spare phone charger
  • Business cards

Not forgetting some of the obvious — but sometimes easily forgettable — items like show passes and parking permits, directions to the venue and your hotel if you’re staying over as well as important contacts at the show like the service and maintenance teams.

It’s simple; take two pairs of shoes. Implementing this at the last two trade shows I’ve worked at let me power through the inevitable sore feet syndrome. Both should be suitably appropriate to your attire and the show itself, but swapping your shoes every few hours alters your tootsies pressure points and aching arches, meaning your feet aren’t quite so sore, so soon.

Have a plan
Don’t just blindly attend an event, do your research first. Know who will be there, and why — what demographic of attendees could you meet? Are certain days busier than others? Are your competitors attending and if so, what products or services will they be promoting? Are there any VIPs or target people you want to speak to? What’s your overall objective at the event? Generating sales leads? Increasing brand recognition? Creating excitement about a new product? How do you want to follow up with any contacts you make after the show? It’s all about the plan!

And don’t just keep this information to yourself, share it with your colleagues so you all have a clear plan of what you want to achieve.

Have fun
Yes, it will be tiring, but try not to let that show. Put on a smile, have a treat and think about the moment you’ll put on your pyjamas and get into your own bed at the end of it all. It will be worth it.

Thankfully trade show event survival doesn’t need to include snake skin water filters or eating insects as a source of protein. Hopefully, with these few tips you’ll be able to conquer the trade show mountain.

If you need support with your next trade show, contact the team at Stone Junction on 01785 225 416 or e-mail us at

Jade Sammons

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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