We all know first impressions count!  After you have spent time and money on great-looking exhibition and display stands you don’t want your incredible sales team to accidentally bring the vibe down by kitting themselves up in the wrong attire. A casual uniform in a smart environment or a more business-like appearance in a relaxed laid-back atmosphere could really hamper the sales efforts. Getting it right the first time can make the difference between event success and event failure.

In this week’s blog, we look at how you can make your team look the part but feel comfortable too!

Pre-event briefing

During your pre-show staff briefing sessions, there is a good opportunity to address your team and set out what the expectations are around the trade show dress code.

You need to consider your audience and set appropriate standards that mean your staff can convey the right message balanced with comfort.

Exhibition halls can vary in temperature, so it is worth noting this to your staff and also yourself if you are considering ordering branded uniforms for the event.  On all occasions ensure staff wear comfortable footwear as exhibitions are notoriously hard on your feet!

So, what should your staff wear at an exhibition?

B2B Trade Shows

Traditionally at Business-to-Business Trade shows, the dress code was always smart business attire. However, more recently, business attire has become much more relaxed in some industries.  We have found ourselves more accustomed to a laid-back, yet smart and stylish way to dress in a professional environment. Where a shirt and tie may have been the norm, for the men and a smart skirt for the ladies, we now see sleeves rolled up, shirts a little unbuttoned and a welcome variety of casual yet extremely smart attire adorning the exhibitors. It portrays a relaxed atmosphere around the business, helps make your team seem approachable and can help those visiting your stand relate to the person hosting the exhibit.

The overall appearance of your staff should show professionalism and represent your company in a presentable way.  If you are keen to have uniformity you could suggest a specific colour shirt for example.  It’s worth suggesting to staff that their clothes are well ironed, and their shoes are clean.

Branded name badges or lanyards are a good addition so that your visitors are aware of who everyone is.

You would be surprised how much of a good impression at an event you can make if you set the tone right with the way your team are dressed.

B2C Trade Shows

Business to Consumer trade shows are generally more casual, so a more relaxed dress code may be appropriate.

In many instances, your team, whilst trying to secure sales, could be demoing products and you want them to look natural in doing so. For example, if you are exhibiting at a kids’ toy event, the demonstration of the product to parents and children will not have the same effect if you are in a 3-piece suit!

Instead generate an air of total relaxation, fun, approachability, and personality. Many companies will do this with branded clothing, perhaps polo shirts, t-shirts, or hoodies. This not only helps present a more relaxed atmosphere but also gives you a great chance to keep your brand name and logo in front of people that may be watching you directly rather than watching your pop up display stand.

As with the B2B show, give your team members a badge or lanyard to help them be identified by those viewing your exhibit.

Consider your audience for each exhibition

When you are considering your dress code think about the audience and industry you are surrounded by.  As we mentioned in our introduction, you don’t want to overdress or underdress your staff.

Think about what you wear to a meeting – if jeans and a shirt are ok for your industry, then they will work for your trade show as long as they are smart.  However, if you work in an industry where suits and business dress is expected then that would be more appropriate.  Ensuring you fit in with your audience will make your staff more approachable and create a good overall impression of your company.

If you really need to attract attention to your stand, or you have a theme, fancy dress may apply but be sure to have some staff that are dressed down to talk to potential customers to ensure you can have a serious conversation!

Remind your staff that good hygiene is important but nothing too overpowering when it comes to fragrance!

Our main tip would be don’t leave your stand staff’s dress code to chance – you need to stipulate your expectations clearly otherwise you could be open to interpretation and that could let your stand presentation down on the day.

Remember it isn’t just what your team wear, it’s how they wear it!

You may have found the perfect look for your team at the event and feel that all that needs to happen now is to reap the rewards of their sales patter, but the saying that “people buy people not products” still rings true.

So, with yourself and the team all dressed in the perfect style for the event you are at, consider how you all look to others. Does it look too imposing? Do you look out of place? Hopefully not!

Factor into your pre-show briefing and team training how important it is to exhibit:

  • Positive and reactive facial expressions
  • Smiling
  • Eye contact, although not too much
  • Posture
  • Body language
  • Personal appearance

Now it can be difficult to train people in the exact facial expressions they should use, of course, everyone is different but appearing disinterested, looking miserable and talking in negative tones can all alter the way someone is perceived by the person attempting to engage with them.

Eye contact is often suggested to be a good thing. And it is, to a point. Too much eye contact and your prospect will feel they are being stared at. You would be surprised just how detrimental a high level of eye contact can be. Mix customer eye contact with observing your product and the items you are showing your potential customer. This allows them to not feel uncomfortable and try to break off the conversation or stop paying attention.

Body language can be a key to selling, and what you wear can help accentuate that body language. Likewise, it can also hide it. Be vibrant and engaging yet subtle enough to not be far too abrasive and in anyone’s face. At the same time, failure to exhibit any positive body language can make you seem disinterested and unwelcoming. Think about how you stand, how you use your hands, how you demo and how meet and greet people for example.

Finally, even with all the other things on point, personal appearance could make it all go to waste. Personal hygiene can be the biggest detractor, for anybody on both sides of the exhibition. Politely, let your team know that you would like everyone to look their best. But also remind them that far too much aftershave or perfume could be unwise too!


If you are looking to make your event a success, speak to the team at Nomadic. Our experts are well experienced in helping you create the perfect event for you and your team. From providing you with your own exhibition stand designer to storing your exhibition display stands, our services can cover all parts of your journey to exhibition success. With our fully reconfigurable stands meaning you can exhibit in any venue no matter the space, choose Nomadic for your best opportunity to make a success of your event. Contact us today to find out how simple we can make it!