Trade Show Games, Activities & Tips

Why would a team building company talk about trade show games?  Because we create all sorts of interactive experiences!  Our Manager of Making It Happen, McKenzie, recently attended Elevate by BizBash in Washington, DC – a one-day workshop, conference and trade show.  She had a fabulous time!  But, while she was there, the topic of how you make an event like this more interactive came up.

So, we thought it was apropos to share some of the ways you can include conference and trade show games to enhance your event in today’s blog.

First and foremost, every trade show manager’s goal is to get attendees to visit exhibitors’ booths. Lots of traffic means happy exhibitors who will come back to the next show. One of the more popular trade show games is to give attendees a passport that they must get stamped in all or some trade show booths in order to enter a prize drawing. The up side is that this increases traffic to the exhibitors’ booths. But, the down side of this is the possibility that exhibitors may have to deal with people who just want a stamp on their passport interrupting them during important conversations with potential clients.

The solution? Host non-intrusive trade show games!

For instance, we’ve created many Trade Show Treasure Hunts for our clients. Attendees access information about how to play and clues via registration materials, or by visiting a hunt website with their own smart device. Half of the information attendees need to solve the treasure hunt clues along with what booth they should visit to get the other half is highlighted in materials or on the website. When attendees arrive at the booths, the information they need to solve the clue is on display.  This could be a sign, a prop or even information that’s integrated into the exhibitors’ displays. There’s no need to interrupt the exhibitor to get what they need. The value for the exhibitor, in addition to not being constantly interrupted, is that the clue itself is designed to highlight their brand or product. Because of this, exhibitors can choose to interact with attendees as they’re standing at the booth trying to solve the clue.  Or, they can go about their business if they’re otherwise engaged!

Trade show games treasure hunt

A custom trade show treasure hunt – can guests complete what’s missing on the sign to solve the clue?


And, then there’s networking…


Secondly, every attendee’s goal, in addition to education, is to network with others. Walking up to strangers can be intimidating. Mom’s admonitions of “don’t talk to strangers” ringing in our heads perhaps? So, put people (and Mom) at ease by giving them a reason to talk to one another by hosting conference and trade show games that turn strangers into collaborators! As an example, we have a business card networking game that gets everyone interacting. Attendees get a business card holder.  In each slot is a description of the type of card that must go there, such as “a business card that has dots in between phone number digits instead of dashes.” Attendees must collect a card from a different person for each description. If they fill all of the slots with the business cards indicated by a set time, they’re entered into a prize drawing. Best of all, they get to keep the business card holder and all of the cards they collected!

Trade show games networking activity

Guests swapping business cards at one of our networking trade show games

Speaking of “Did you know?” we discovered, when we went to give blood at a partner’s blood drive, that 3 out of the 6 of us are not able to give blood.  That’s because of where we’ve traveled/lived in the past (England, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua). Who knew? We wished we had before finding out after an hour of waiting. But, it was worth it and we were very proud of Gaby for being brave and donating blood for the first time ever!

Custom team building events blood donation

Gaby shows off her big heart by facing her fears and donating blood anyways!

Oh – and the answer to the New York City question above (if you were wondering)? It’s 38!

Custom Team Building Events & Tips

Sure, we have 100 stock team building events in our repertoire. But, one of the reasons we’re called Wildly Different is because we specialize in and love creating and implementing custom team building events for our clients!

Here’s some of the reasons why you should do custom team building events instead of “off-the-shelf” experiences that anyone can participate in and some tips on the little things you can do to create custom team building events:

  • Put your logo and branding on any handouts teams will receive. This lets your participants know this is something special that was created just for them.

custom team building events

  • Work your messaging into the event to drive home the point. For instance, if your company just went through a merger and the focus of your meeting is “coming together as one,” your event should be customized to highlight that. So, something like one of our custom team building event ideas, The Big Picture in which teams compete in themed challenges to collect squares that get hung up on a numbered grid to reveal a custom message, would be ideal.
custom team building event ideas

Putting the pieces together on a custom mural project!

  • Re-enforce training information to see if employees remember and are able to use it. That’s why, in our iTech Treks, we test participants’ knowledge of corporate information by weaving it into challenges. I.e., teams may see a jumble of letters and receive a hint that “If they know the number of products they’re launching next year, they can ‘count’ on a solution appearing.” If participants know 5 new products will launch, they realize that if they take every 5th letter, it spells out the location where they must go to take a team photo.
  • Add extra touches to get people into the spirit of the meeting. A good example of this is one client who had their event about a “revolutionary” new product in Philadelphia. One of our custom team building event ideas was to create a meeting-long, ongoing Treasure Hunt that revealed locations on a treasure map. For one clue Betsy Ross mingled with guests during a break and players needed to view the flag she was carrying to find the location. During another break, players were told to view a vignette on the snack bar and remember Paul Revere’s ride to figure out a coordinate. When they got there, they saw two lanterns. Clever hunters recalling the famous phrase associated with Paul Revere, “One if by land, two if by sea”, realize the coordinate they needed for the map was 2C (two lanterns = by C)! How’s that for custom team building activities?

Looking for custom team building events your team can run themselves?  Consider consulting with us!

Revolutionary custom team building events

More characters were on hand to assist Betsy Ross & Paul Revere with this custom team building event!


Our very own Jane and McKenzie went out to Chicago a couple of weeks ago to run one of our custom team building events for Chiesi, that put a different “spin” on things and got attendees to experience the Navy Pier!

Custom team building events in Chicago

Jane & McKenzie bringing one of our custom team building events to life in Chicago!

custom team building activities

Having a “wheelie” good time delivering a custom team building event in Chicago

And customization doesn’t always mean corporate! Gaby and her team ran a “clown college” for a financial company that wanted to entertain kids at a circus-themed family party. The kids got to don a clown nose and decorate their own clown collar, tie and hat. Of course, our team couldn’t resist clowning around while they were there!

Family friendly custom team building events

No joke – we had to make our Clown University graduates official!

Custom team building events for family parties

One of our Clown University graduates!