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Ultimate List of Trade Show Terms to Know Before Your First Trade Show

If you’re preparing for your first trade show, it can feel overwhelming and stressful. It is a large event, and many other vendors will have been to many trade shows before. It’s an excellent idea to familiarize yourself with the terminology used in the industry so you can feel confident going into the trade show. Knowing the language of trade shows will help you communicate effectively with other vendors and attendees and ensure that you’re fully prepared for the event. Everyone deserves to feel confident when attending their first trade show. Here is the ultimate list of trade show terms to know before your first trade show:

Booth – The area where you’ll be showcasing your products or services, when you sign up for a trade show you typically can pick out your booth from a diagram of the floor plan. You will be assigned a booth number. 

Exhibit hall – The large space where all of the booths are located.

Attendee – A person who is attending the trade show. Typically, attendees are interested in the products and services your industry has to offer. 

Vendor – A company or individual who is showcasing their products or services at the tradeshow and has reserved a booth. 

Badge – A credential that identifies you as an attendee or vendor. Most trade shows will ask that you wear your badge at all times, that way you come and go easily. 

Lead – A potential customer or contact that you meet at the tradeshow. Gathering their contact information is crucial to make it a solid lead that could turn into a sale. 

ROI – Return on investment, which refers to the value you gain from participating in the tradeshow. It is vital that you keep track of this to see if the trade show was worth it and if you should do more. 

Swag – Promotional items or giveaways that you offer to visitors that usually have your brand on them. 

Floor plan – A map of the exhibit hall that shows where each booth is located.

Setup and teardown – The process of setting up your booth before the tradeshow and taking it down afterward. The more trade shows you attend, the easier it becomes. 

Booth staff – The team members who will be working at your booth during the tradeshow to answer questions and interact with the attendees that come to your booth. 

Traffic – The number of visitors who come to the trade show. This number is a great indicator if a trade show is worth your time and expenses. 

Pre-show promotion – Any advertising or marketing that you do before the tradeshow to promote your booth. Social media is a great tool to do pre-show promoting. 

Post-show follow-up – The process of following up with leads after the trade show is over. 

Drayage – The unloading of your shipment, storing your shipment, transporting it to your booth, storing and returning your empty crates, and reloading your shipment at the close of the show to be shipped back. 

Taking the time to become familiar with these terms will help you navigate your first trade show with confidence. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you come across any terms or concepts that you’re not familiar with, as everyone has to start somewhere. With a little preparation and dedication, your first tradeshow can be a great opportunity to get brand awareness and make connections with those within your industry. 


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