|Remember the old saying, “If you can’t say
anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” It might have been good manners while
you were growing up, but does the same hold true in the cut-throat business
world we all live in?
The cynical among us would say “of course not.” Author, Dorothy Parker
perhaps coined it best: “If you can’t say anything nice, come over here
and sit by me.” But what happens if you’ve got Parkeresque booth staffers working at your
It’s tempting to disparage your competition. Pointing out differences in
quality, price, delivery times and return policies is “part and parcel” of doing
business: but the way you do these things says a lot about your corporate
When you talk about your competition to your attendees, you’re doing three
1. Confusing the customer.
In the fast-paced show environment, you can never take it for granted that they
know who YOU are, much less who the players in your industry are.
2. Giving credibility to the one company you’re trying to disparage.
No one tries to tear down the worst company in the world — if you’re attacking
someone, even verbally, it must be because you’re worried about them.
3. Adding an aura of unpleasant nastiness to your reputation.
Your staffers are your ambassadors. If attendees perceive them as being jealous
or mean-spirited, they’ll assume the whole organization thinks that way. Not a
positive way to be perceived! Remember that “perception = reality.”
“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and
leave no doubt.” — Mark Twain
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