The Zen of Conference Booth Displays

“Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.” – Jane Hirshfield

With this in mind, here’s how to apply Zen practice to excellent conference booth design, forgetting the mistakes of past events, letting go of the outcome, and removing false boundaries that would otherwise hold us and our businesses back.

In the Moment, Forgetting the Past

It’s important to learn from mistakes, whether yours or those made by other businesses. Many businesses, including ours, will advise you to measure the results of previous trade shows as this will give you information about how to do better in the future. There comes a time, however, when the wealth of data and information available to us becomes overwhelming. It can be a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” — Alan Watts

While we recommend allowing yourself to be guided by your knowledge – nobody has your unique experience and this is valuable – resist following the same paths well-trodden by you or other businesses. By being open to new ideas and possibilities, you can make a difference that gets you noticed.

Embracing Change

“Change is never painful. Only resistance to change is painful.” – Buddha

Pop stars, technology, movies, all receive upgrades over time. On a larger time scale, all life evolves. Animals, plants, and customers. Evolution is a natural process and we suggest that you evolve naturally, too.

If your conference booth design has been the same way for a while, it can be worth revisiting its design to demonstrate that your business is modern and relevant, and that you can satisfy your changing customers.

By letting go of old ways of thinking and entertaining new possibilities, you may make new connections and solve old problems more elegantly. You may experience this as a eureka moment: that divine bolt of lightning or coveted flash of inspiration. Or you might have an idea so simple it feels like everyone should have been doing things this way from the beginning. Whatever the connection, embrace it. It may grow into a display that not only turns heads but seems like an utterly natural evolution that perfectly matches your brand.

Avoid Clutter

A busy conference booth, like a busy mind, is unfocused. To allow people to experience your brand and to interact with your visitors, you need to remove clutter. It’s no accident that there is a trend towards professional conference booths with clean, modern designs.

It can take a professional to achieve a clean look without your booth ending up looking sparse and unfinished. Done well, however, it will appeal to your visitors and be a pleasure to spend time in.

Let Go of the Outcome

Conference booth advice typically advises you to focus on the outcome you desire. It’s true that if you don’t have a measurable goal, you won’t know when your conference booth is having the desired effect.

The Zen of conference booth displays, however, suggests that there comes a time when the snowball is rolling, growing, and chasing it blindly is not going to make much difference. Much better to stand up straight and be open to what happens next.

“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” — Dalai Lama

Trying to force your actions to result in a particular outcome can limit the success of your conference display. Mindless pursuit of contact details, for example, could lead you to miss the more powerful opportunities for networking with other businesses or learning more about your customers and ways that you could be serving them.

Just as a martial artist will use different techniques against various opponents in different settings, you should be equally flexible. Sticking to the same moves time and time again means missing your targets with the same frequency as ever.

Demonstrate flexibility when it comes to your conference booth display too. Different visitors, locations, and trade show themes will call for adjustments to your conference booth design so that you can achieve the best effect.


Imagine seeing your conference booth display through the eyes of a potential customer. Done with honesty and commitment, this can be a great way to let go of your preconceptions about your brand. If you can approach your brand, your business, and your booth in an unattached Zen-like manner, you open the way for useful insights that could improve your conference booth display and change the way you do business for the better.

“Zen has no business with ideas.” — D.T. Suzuki

Put away your spreadsheets and analytics for a moment. When you look at your conference booth design, how does it make you feel? This is important. Not only does your booth convey a message but it also creates an atmosphere. Consider what you want people to feel when they think of your brand.

Consider the colors and shapes that you could incorporate into your booth design. Should you opt for an open design or something closed? How will you use technology? Don’t think about why until later. For now, go with your gut feeling, putting yourself in the place of a visitor.

The Zen of conference booth displays offers you a way to gain insights into your customers, the way you represent your business, and even how you do what you do on a daily. We recommend practicing every day to improve experiences for you and your customers.

“Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease.” — Lama Surya Das

We want you to have the most successful and most intuitive conference booth display. If you’re having trouble letting go, you can’t see the wood for the trees, or you can’t stop thinking about the sound of one hand clapping, get in touch with our conference booth display design masters for a new perspective.