At first glance, there’s no connection between Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and tradeshows. The same is true of Piglet, Tigger, and the rest of the gang. What could this cuddly group of childhood favorites possibly teach us about exhibiting?

Surprisingly, quite a bit. There are some very strong similarities between Winnie the Pooh and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods and many tradeshow exhibitors. Don’t believe me? Take a look and see how many of your staffers you recognize:

Winnie the Pooh

Pooh Bear may be cute, cuddly and approachable -- but he’s also got one thing on his mind. What makes this roly poly bear happy? Honey, of course! He’s obsessed with the golden sweet -- when he’s not enjoying a meal, he’s in search of the next smackerel to fill his rumbly-tummy.

A Pooh-style booth staffer is hungry. He might be talking to attendees, but he’s thinking about lunch. If someone walks by with a sandwich, his eyes are instantly drawn to it. Scents from the food court get his nostrils quivering. When he gets a chance to eat, he takes it: even if that means eating in the


Piglet is a very small animal, made even more timid when confronted with unfamiliar surroundings, loud noises, bright colors, and crowds. His reaction? Why, to run and hide under the bed, of course, or behind his good friend Pooh.

A Piglet-style staffer may be naturally shy or someone who is easily overwhelmed. Their reaction, inspired by fear, is to fade into the back of the booth and hope no one notices them. More often than not, they get their wish -- which is good for them, but bad for your bottom line.


Owl is an exceedingly well educated bird. He’s got a brain just cram-packed full of facts and figures -- and he wants you to know it. No tidbit of information is too small to escape his attention, nor to avoid being retold to anyone who will listen.

If you have an Owl-style staffer, you might count yourself lucky. After all, she knows EVERYTHING! However, watch your Owl in action. Their overwhelming compulsion to ‘show off’ their knowledge can easily alienate attendees and send them in search of a salesperson who knows how to listen.


Rabbit is the busiest creature in the Hundred Acre Woods. He’s always rushing around: planting seeds over here, pulling weeds over there, chasing crows and watering daffodils. There are a million and one tasks required to keep his beloved garden blooming, and they’re all very important.

You can always tell a Rabbit-style staffer. They’re the ones with a cell phone constantly in their ear, fingers flying over the keyboard as they check e-mails or text message the home office. They’re so obviously busy taking care of business that they can’t be bothered with trivial distractions -- like talking to show attendees!


Tigger is full of energy. He bounces around, springing from one thing that catches his attention to the next. Full of laughs, high spirits and infectious energy, Tiggers are a lot of fun to have around.

Put Tigger at a tradeshow, however, and you might have a problem. Enthusiasm and high energy can attract traffic to your exhibit, but without some focus and control (concepts foreign to most Tigger-types) there’s no way to capitalize on your crowds.

At this point, you might be feeling a little like Eeyore -- down in the dumps. After all, with a booth full of Poohs, Piglets, Owls, Rabbits & Tiggers, your chances for success are looking pretty slim. Don’t despair! The hero of the Hundred Acre Woods is on his way!

Christopher Robin

The human companion to Winnie the Pooh and all of his furry friends, Christopher Robin encompasses the best traits of all five and adds a crucial element: perspective and understanding of how things actually work.

A Christopher Robin-style staffer combines Owl’s knowledge, Tigger’s enthusiasm and Pooh’s approachability with an understanding and appreciation for the tradeshow attendee. They realize the importance of giving all their attention to their visitor, setting aside the cell phone, the lap top --even the sandwich! -- to focus on what’s really important.

Every exhibitor needs to have a Christopher Robin on their team, preferably more than one. Now’s the time to take a look at your team.

How many Christopher Robins do you have?

How many Poohs? Piglets? Tiggers?

What can you do to change the makeup in your Hundred Acre Woods?

(Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit, Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Woods are all ™ Disney)

Author's Bio: 

Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with companies to increase their profitability at tradeshows. Author: “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” and “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” (May 2007). For a free copy of “10 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make”, e-mail: ; website: