There are a ton of moving parts in the trade show industry. Hundreds of items big and small to keep track of, plan for, and put in motion — and that’s even before the chaos of the actual trade show.

While all of this makes the industry exhilarating, it also requires the right sort of attitude in order to succeed. A person with the wrong type of personality — say, disorganized or easily frazzled — can quickly find themselves in need of a life preserver before or during a show.

In our experience, these are the five qualities leaders at the top of the trade show game have in common.

steelhead_icon_bookjpg1. Open-mindedness


Trade shows are all about marketing, and marketing is always changing. Trends come and go, usually from one year to the next, and ideas can come out of left field quickly.

Download Now: The Exhibitor’s Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020

Those who are set in their ways or are at all bullheaded will usually find themselves hitting a wall creatively, either personally or with other members of their team. Being opinionated is fine, but if you stubbornly refuse to deviate from your own direction and accept some potentially radical ideas, you’re not going to get very far.

steelhead_icon_rubber-band2. Flexibility

Part of being open-minded is the ability to remain flexible in your ideas and opinions. Inspiration can come from anywhere, especially in a 3D architectural marketing environment where different elements and ingredients routinely collide.

This flexibility also extends to the way you work and the culture you build. You should always try to find new ways to break what might not need breaking in an attempt to innovate to make things better and more efficient — not just for your clients, but for your team as well.

Taste@2x-1003. Communication

Obviously, the ability to communicate is an important trait for most people in most industries.

What makes it particularly critical in the trade show industry is the speed at which things move. Not just marketing trends like we mentioned earlier, but in the actual day-to-day work of planning, designing, and putting together an elaborate trade show booth.

steelhead_icon_question-mark4. Curiosity

Great ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes you need to search for them, though, which is why it’s important to always stay curious and never satisfied with your own creativity.

Many times, inspiration comes from other industries that have nothing to do with marketing or trade shows. The hospitality industry, for example, often has designs that can be borrowed and applied to make a trade show booth engaging and comfortable at the same time.

steelhead_icon_pencil5. Drive

At the end of the day, this is perhaps the most important quality for a person to have — just not for the reason you might think.

While drive is critical to succeed in every industry, trade shows often throw different scenarios at you with their own unique challenges. A solution to one challenge probably won’t work for another, which means you need to have the drive to not only tackle a new problem quickly, but to keep up with a constant flood of challenges.

For more of our thoughts on achieving success in the trade show industry, download our free resource The Exhibitor’s Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020.

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The Exhibitor's Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020

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