Know Your Terms: Booth, Exhibit, and Stand Edition

I just got an e-mail from someone who said the whole #boothlove hashtag idea was making her nuts because it is a misuse of the word "booth." According to the Convention Industry Council's APEX Industry Glossary, a booth is "Specific exhibit display area assigned by show management to an exhibitor under contractual agreement. Internationally, the term STAND is used."

So to be clear, a "booth" is actually the space you build an exhibit on, not the exhibit itself.

But when I looked up "stand," which is synonymous with "booth" according to the glossary, it says a stand is the "European term for booth or exhibit." And when I, glutton for punishment that I am, looked up "exhibit," the listing is for an "Exhibit Booth/Stand: Individual display area constructed to showcase products or convey a message, or to sell products or services."

Just my quick little dive down the glossary rabbit hole made it easy to see how there is at least as much confusion about what constitutes a booth or exhibit as there is over what exactly you're referring to when you talk about a lectern (the stand a speaker stands behind and puts notes on) and a podium (the raised platform a speaker stands on)—which in fairness the glossary even notes often get mixed up.

Anyway, to be technically correct, the hashtag really should be #exhibitlove, since it's doubtful many people are in love with their piece of concrete floor, though I think that ship has already sailed.

Thanks to my correspondent for fighting the good terminology fight! And for those who want to fact-check what they think they're saying when they use industry jargon, here's a great roundup of some trade show terms by Candy Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, an independent exhibit-management consultant, trainer, speaker, and writer.

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