Here is a great post by Nancy Dowd on the do’s and dont’s of successful trade show booths. (Read the whole thing.)
“As a test I set out to see how many pens I could take without ever speaking to a person. As you can see… my experiment netted me 50 pens. I could have taken lots more but I got tired and thought 50 pens proved my point well enough.
Some people set their tables up so you didn’t even have to speak with them and one guy actually had a bin of them. He told me that people were just coming up and grabbing a handful and leaving. When I asked him why he left them on the table he just gave me a blank look.
That blank look told me he probably had no idea of why he was there.”