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Every-“body’s” talking: What booth staff body language says to trade show attendees
Every-“body’s” talking: What booth staff body language says to trade show attendeesWe’ve all been to trade show booths that were, well, “less-than-stellar” to say the least. Booth staff is inattentive and interaction is minimal. The result? You guessed it: No relationship built or sale closed.How can a company be sure that its trade show staff gives off the right impression? Interestingly enough, it boils down to far more than a well-crafted sales pitch or carefully pinpointed prospects. Many times, it’s just as much about what one’s body communicates as his or her language. Read on to learn a few useful nonverbal communication tips for your team to implement at your next trade show.

Leave the “poker face” at the door
Blank, expressionless poker faces that score high during big card games don’t garner the same value when gracing the face of your trade show workers. In fact, research from the Association of Psychological Science has proven that it takes less than one-tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from his or her face, so there had better be a smile there! Plus, an emotionless face can be construed as “bored” and has also been proven to induce feelings of anxiety, frustration and confusion in passersby. Remind your enthusiastic booth staff to always wear a smile by giving them Happy Highlighters to use during the show to highlight important information for visitors to commit to memory.

Let attendees know you’re listening
According to the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) convention and trade show’s Exposition Sales Manager Mickey Cuzzucoli, one of the most common reasons show attendees give for not buying from an exhibitor is feeling that the booth worker didn’t understand their needs due to poor listening skills. Avoid this pitfall by training booth staff on how to convey that they’re actively listening to prospects. Ensure solid eye contact is made throughout the conversation, and show general interest with facial expressions in what the prospect is saying. Along the same line, remember to focus on the customer, not the demo or presentation that can sometimes take centre stage at a trade show booth.

Keep your posture open and welcoming
A large portion of a person’s body language communication is perceived from his or her posture. Keep a few of these tips in mind the next time you or your team is showing at a trade show:

  • Stay standing, preferably near the front of your booth for best visibility. If your table is at bar height, then sitting on eye-level stools is also acceptable. Sitting at a lower table height can make booth staff look disinterested in engaging with customers. Consider outfitting booth employees with comfortable shoes to encourage all-day standing, paired with a Badge Holder imprinted with the friendly reminder, “If I’m sitting down, your next meal is on me!” and stick to that promise if any visitors see employees lounging back behind the table.
  • Where to put your arms? Although stuffing hands in your pockets or crossing them may feel most natural, remind staff of your company’s “open posture policy,” which includes keeping arms comfortably at your sides and using mild gestures when appropriate. Also try to avoid clasping your hands behind your back, as Harvard Business School research proves this mannerism can come across as suspicious to others – something you definitely want to avoid when pushing any type of sale!

Keep gum and food far, far away
This tip speaks for itself. You know what it’s like to have a conversation with a person who’s chomping away. Imagine the discomfort visitors feel when trying to have a professional conversation with a trade show staffer who has a mouthful. If fresh breath is a worry, consider having complimentary Mint Cards or Mini Mint Tins available for both staff and visitors at the booth. Imprint them with your logo to boost awareness long after the trade show is over.

In the same breath (no pun intended!) as food and gum is drink. Since you likely know that trade shows can sometimes run long, liquids are a crucial part of booth survival. Allow each booth staffer one water bottle, tucked neatly away under the table when not in use. Consider sharing the H2O wealth with your visitors by handing out ice-cold Bottled Water for them to carry around the show…with your logo in tow!

Acing your company’s trade show presence derives from a culmination of factors, and staff body language is one of them. Train booth staff for success, and you’ll be well on your way to enticing even more visitors to stop by and learn about your products and services.

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