Trade Shows vs. Conferences vs. Conventions

My recent post on Events vs. Meetings got some good feedback but also opened the door to some other clarifying questions. One commenter asked to explain the difference between trade shows, conferences and conventions. I combined some of my favorite definitions and examples and here’s what I got for you.

Trade Show – An exhibition for companies in a specific industry to showcase and demonstrate their latest offerings. Mostly closed to the public.

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Conference – A meeting for consultation, education, exchange of information, or discussion with a formal agenda.

President Barack Obama and his family and Vice President Joe Biden and his family celebrate their nominations as the confetti falls at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Convention – A formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates. Examples include a fraternal society or political party.

I hope that helps compartmentalize some of the different types of events in our industry.

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Dan Berger is the Founder and CEO of Social Tables. He has received nearly 20 leadership awards, including the Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council and Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings. He has been named Tech Titan by Washingtonian and was named a finalist for E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Born in Israel and raised in New York City, Dan now calls Washington, DC home. He has a BA from Hunter College and an MBA from Georgetown.