Everyone loves a good hospice trade show. It is a great place to learn, shop, get free stuff, and connect with other people in the hospice community. If you have ever been to one of these trade shows before, you know how stimulating they can be. It can be difficult to take full advantage of the environment of the hospice trade show, so the team here at SONO has done the research and we have packaged up, for your enjoyment, the 5 do’s and don’ts of hospice trade shows. Take what you like! And leave what you don’t!

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The Do’s

Do listen and learn

You’re most likely staying at a great hotel in one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S. and you find yourself sitting inside, in the basement of a hotel, staring at a speaker on a stage. This is NOT the easiest place to be. Especially when the sun is shining and mimosa happy hour is calling your name. However, you need to listen and learn. You are never too smart to stop learning! Plus, those mimosas will taste all the sweeter if you really worked hard to learn during the day.

Do take yourself seriously.

You are there for a reason! You were chosen to represent your hospice at this trade show. Vendors and other hospices are seeing you as the face of the hospice you are there representing. All this to say, put on your shiny shoes and hold your head up high! This is a great time to be your best and take the event seriously.

Do talk to everyone.

When we say everyone, we mean vendors too! Are vendors there to sell to you and get your business? Well yes, of course they are! And you better believe they paid a lot of money to be there and try to talk to you! However, you are there to learn, and you will learn quite a lot by speaking to all the vendors and hearing about the various products and services that exist for hospice care.

Do ask and receive.


Vendors bring giveaways that they WANT you to have. However, they don’t want to throw it at you as you walk by trying to avoid eye contact (Yes, we see you walk by even if you don’t see us). Walk up and ask for one of whatever they are giveaway. It is a great icebreaker and could lead to great conversation.

Do try the dessert.

For reasons largely unknown to us, all the trade shows across the United States have the absolute best desserts. You have to try one of everything. We do. You work your but off and you deserve as much dessert as your heart desires! Seriously though, the desserts have to be the best kept secret in the hospice industry.

The Don’ts

Don’t skip the sessions.


You are there on the company dollar and it is just flat out wrong to deliberately choose to skip a session to go to Harry Potter World instead. Come on, people. You are better than this.

Don’t disrespect the speaker.

The speakers at trade shows do a lot of prep to provide you with a structured, engaging, and thought provoking presentation. Playing on your phone or talking while they are talking is disrespectful. Give them your undivided attention.

Don’t take too much.

Don’t be that person that asks for 8 coffee mugs because your grandchildren would love them. The vendors are nice and won’t say no. You are taking advantage of a kindness and that is not cool. Just take one of everything that way there is enough for everyone!

Don’t forget your name tag.

How is anyone supposed to know who you are or where you’re from without your name tag?! I suppose conversation could lead to discovery of who you are, but that requires so much work! In all seriousness, wear the name tag you are given. There is nothing worse than forgetting someone’s name whom you met 10 mins ago. The name tags remove the worry of this happening to everyone.

Don’t forget your business cards.

You just had a great conversation with someone that you fully intend on continuing talks with after the trade show. You realize you forgot your business cards and so did she. Now you have to write down your phone numbers and emails on a napkin that inevitably gets thrown away or accidentally used as a Kleenex.

Are you a trade show expert? We would love to hear your “Do’s and Don’ts”! Comment below if there is anything we missed that you feel the hospice world should be aware of!

- SONO Team

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out our SONO Symposium coming up in February! Get the chance to meet and learn from a Walt Disney World Imagineer on how to use your creativity to improve your hospice.