I just returned from a trade show radio gig in LA. And over the course of the event, I observed ten things that I see at nearly every show, and drive me insane:

1. Too many organizations go to a trade show with very little preparation about what business prospects they intend to see when they arrive at the show. All these industry leaders in one big room, and you don’t pre-schedule many appointments? Meeting walk-ins is great, but you better have a near-full slate of appointments scheduled before you arrive, or your trade show spend is a joke.

2. I have an intense desire to walk right on past a booth with one of those metal racks with logo bags hanging on them. Come on people…do something original.

Is this you?

3. Offering bowls of candy are great! Especially for the bastard walking by your booth who is hungry, and doesn’t give a hoot about what you have to sell.

4. Paying for a giant booth space and overstaffed with too many guys wearing the same outfit, it too intimidating. Reminds me of the commission swarm I try to avoid when walking into a furniture store.

5. Having specific collateral available (stored away when needed) for prospects who need information on a very particular product makes sense. Setting up giant racks with every available brochure just seems like a waste. And usually gets tossed with the bags you are giving away.

6. Putting sofas in your booth space? Really? Really? I suppose this is a nice touch for your guests. But I’d advise against letting all your staff use them to relax until the receptions start…

7. Does anyone actually read the hundreds of words of text on all those trade show displays? Reminds me of those word-packed power points too many people still use. How about an interactive video that demonstrates how you serve and help customers?

8. Scanning mass amounts of emails, and getting people to agree by offering prizes sure is a stellar way to collect large amounts of email addresses. But don’t be surprised that the open rates on those emails will be lower than average. These people probably don’t really want to hear from you…

9. If you are a sales guy, and you spend the entire show sitting around the booth counting the minutes until your shift ends, you need to get fired. What a missed opportunity to network with all the leaders in your market space under one roof.

10. First, you better leave the show with some legitimate business opportunities. But more importantly, you had better devise a serious plan to follow-up with those leads. 70% of trade show leads are never contacted…

What are some other things that organizations do wrong at trade shows?