Trade show etiquette and ethics in Europe

Trade show etiquette and ethics in Europe



Trade shows and trade fairs are more than just a stage to exhibit your brand; they provide common grounds for networking and acquainting yourself and your brand to a diverse audience. At trade shows, you as a brand get an opportunity to interact and showcase your brand to new congregations. Every region has its own set of ethics and etiquette and as guest exhibitor of the region it is obligatory that you present your brand responsibly while abiding with the laws and ethics of the region. Learning the ethics of the region you are exhibiting in also helps you in creating a powerful impact on the audience. It helps you to send forth your marketing message effectively and builds a solid reputation for the brand.

Just like any other continent, Europe too has a code of ethics and etiquette for trade shows and events. Let us delve into a few that will ensure a smooth exhibiting experience in Europe.

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Greetings – Just like in most cultures the formal greetings in most part of the European continent is exchanged through handshakes. We recommend keepingthe handshake of a lighter yet firm grasp.A tight grasp handshake isn’t very common in Europe. In Germany a slight nod of the head along with the handshake is an acceptable form of greeting.

Introductions – In Europe, it is suggested that you introduce yourself first before you get in a conversation with your clients. You may also add your designation at the end of the name, to givethe clients a brief idea about who they are dealing with.



Dress code – At trade shows and exhibitions in Europe, it is suggested that you dress formally especially if you are visiting the show strictly for business purposes. For men, a formal jacket, trousers and clean, formal shoes is a standard. You may add a tie if required. On women, formal dresses, below the knee skirts and shirts arestandard attire at trade shows and exhibitions.

Basic etiquettes - Punctuality is among the most valued virtues in Europe. If you have arranged a meeting at a particular time, you are expected to be at the venue at least 5 minutes before the giventime. Never arrange meetings during the lunch break. 1pm – 3pm slot is generally considered to be the lunch break and no formal meetings are entertained during this period.

Communication – Common spoken language in most parts of Europe is English, although this may differ from country to country, generally most trade conversations are conducted in English. It is advisable that you keep your conversation brief with your clients and visitors and do not beat around the bush. Avoid blame game and name calling in formal meetings.

Largesse - Exchanging gifts at trade shows isn’t a very common practice. In case you are gifting your clients, make sure your gift isn’t personal and is neatly wrapped in a ‘not-so-fancy’ wrap.



Business lunches–Dinner in Europe is reserved for informal entertaining, however if you want to carry your trade show conversation to lunch, it is acceptable. It is expected that you maintain decorum throughout the lunch meeting and steer clear from consuming and offering hard liquor.

These tips will give you an outline of European code of conduct and etiquette. While exhibiting in trade shows in Europe or visiting events, it is advised that you have a professional approach and represent your respective country in a dignified fashion.

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