It's an age old problem with a new twist; attendees
walk past a booth and immediately form the impression that the booth staff
is not really interested in meeting new people.
This impression comes from
observing these company representatives busy talking to colleagues,
catching up on paper work and eating their lunch.
Enter the age of technology and we see new
distractions: Smartphone's, tablets and laptops which apparently are too
enticing to ignore, is leaving the attendee with an unfavourable
impression, the last impression you want to create with potential
Imagine if you walked into a retail store and the
sales clerk was behind the cash register texting their friends or reading
updates on Facebook. Unless you needed a product sold at this
badly and it wasn't available at their nearest competitor, you might turn
around and walk out. The situation is no different at a trade show.
The problem has intensified now that nearly one
third of the world's population is connected and the tendency to send a
quick text or email message becomes overpowering. How then
do you ensure
that your staff stops texting, talking, reading, computing and organizing
in order to give one hundred percent of their attention to the visitors?
In the past many exhibitors have developed a list of
do's and don'ts for booth conduct which included rules about such items as
eating, reading, sitting, approaching, and professionalism.
Now it's time
to create a code of conduct focused on the use of technology at a trade
It's going to take some time and thought to create a
comprehensive list. I'm asking you to add your suggestions to the list
below. With your input, I plan to update this list in the months to
Here are a few of my suggestions to get our
- Use cell-phones at the booth. The tendency is,
especially during slower times, to stay in touch with customers and head
office. But you never know when the next customer is going to
walk by and
if they see your thumbs flying over a miniature keyboard they just might
walk by without stopping;
- Use the booth time to catch up on work on laptops
and tablets. Reports can wait. Most of us are not dealing with matters of
life and death so putting off that sales report or the letter
to a customer should wait until you can give it your complete attention.
- Allow head office people to interrupt exhibition
staff with calls and messages. There needs to be clear guidelines
detailing who, when and why a phone call from head office to someone
trade show happens. The policy about these types of interruptions is best
handled when your senior executives support your exhibition program and
understand how destructive
interruptions can be.
- Turn your cell-phone ringer to "silent" or
"vibrate" during exhibition hours.
However, there are times when a Smartphone can be a real advantage. You
can use it to confirm show appointments and meetings. It is a great method
of staying in touch with your
customers reminding them that you are at the
show and an excellent tool to use when you run into a situation where you
need some head-office advice. A quick text often gets answers
that a booth
- Assign one person who will post updates from your
booth to maintain contact with the social media. To ignore the power of
the social media at a trade show is foolish. Many shows
twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites into their promotion plans.
Wise exhibitors will embrace social media and use it to their advantage.
However, without very clear
rules about who posts and how comments are
given; the tendency is to have all your show staff falling over each other
doing the same thing. A clear policy must be established to ensure
you are maximizing the power of the social network.
- Use laptops and tablets to help with visitor
presentations. Visitors attend a show to clarify issues related to your
product or service. Often a one-on-one discussion will help move them
along in the sales cycle. This is the one time when tablets and laptops
can be a great help in supporting the points you are attempting to make by
accessing your web-site, a pre-loaded
presentation, statistics and case
This is a mere beginning. Surely there are many
items that should be added. If you have any do's and don'ts to add, please
let me know.