Top Tips for Staffing A Sponsor Table at WordCamp

featured image for staffing booth

Staffing a sponsor table at a WordCamp can be overwhelming for those new to the scene. Here are some of the tips I learned along the way.

Staffing Your Table: Prepare Before WordCamp

One to two weeks ahead, look at the attendees page to get an idea of who will be there. Follow the hashtag on Twitter and reply to people who are excited about the camp.

Some things you can say are:

  • See you there.
  • Do you have any tips for this city?
  • What session are you looking forward to?

Staffing Your Table: Tips During WordCamp

  • Arrive early. Usually tables are first come, first served.
  • Put out your swag in a way that is visually appealing.
  • You probably don’t need to save too much swag for day 2. There’s a 50-25% drop off in attendance.
  • Tweet out a selfie saying you are there and asking people to say hi. Use the WordCamp hashtag, not their Twitter handle. Remember, if you start a tweet with an @ handle, it is considered a reply. You want to avoid that. Use a period first to trick Twitter.

  • Stand up. People won’t talk to you if you’re sitting down. This is especially true if you are looking at your phone/computer.
  • If you need a break, go into a session and tweet from there. Learn. Take notes. Absorb. You should be able to learn at least one thing.
  • If one of your teammates is speaking, definitely support them.

    • Smile. It’s hard. I know. But it helps.
    • Ask people questions. Don’t ask about your service or product (yet). This gets people talking. Get insight from your audience.
      • How do you use WordPress?
      • What has been your favorite session so far?
      • What did you get for lunch?
    • Tweet selfies with your booth attendees. If someone won a prize, definitely tweet that, too.
    • Take notes. It’s fine if it’s just bullets. Your supervisor may ask you for insights from the camp. This makes it much easier to remember things.

    What are your tips?

    We are all always learning. I’d love to see what your tips are for staffing a successful sponsor booth at a WordCamp. Leave it in the comments below.

6 responses to “Top Tips for Staffing A Sponsor Table at WordCamp”

  1. This is a great post, Bridget!

    Really good advice:
    “Ask people questions. Don’t ask about your service or product (yet). This gets people talking.”

    It seems more authentic when you try to find out about people before recommending something.

    When working at booths, I mainly try to have conversations. Sometimes I won’t recommend the product at all, but sometimes it’s a great fit.

  2. Goals: You need to go into the event with a clear plan of what you want to accomplish with the booth. Do you want a list of names? Do you want pre-qualified leads? Do you want to just do a branding exercise and “get your name out there”? Everything from your booth set up to swag etc should follow with that goal in mind. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and money.

    Scheduling: Work up a list of seminars/speeches people want to see and stick to it. That helps relieve boredom and helps add some structure. Also, it lets you go out into the crowds and do networking which is incredibly beneficial compared to the small time they talk to you at your booth. Build in some breaks, you’ll need them.

    Training: Don’t let someone go in cold. Working booths can be both mind-numbing and invigorating. Let someone that has worked shows do some role-play with the n00b and make sure they have clear expectations of what they are going to experience and do. Teach them that they can’t bury their nose in their phone/laptop. Nobody expects someone to work support or marketing without training, so how is a trade show different?

    Staffing: Volunteers are important, but make sure your staffing reflects your goals. I’ve seen very technical conferences staff with nothing but marketing people and it looked really bad.