Do You “Think Different” on the Trade Show Floor? Part 1

Two weeks ago, I offered you a challenge – “how to avoid being invisible on the trade show floor.”  One of the three ways I shared is to “be different.”

This week I was re-reading one of my favorite books, “A Whole New Mind,” by best-selling author, Daniel Pink. In it he claims, “we’re living in a different era, a different age.  An age in which those who “Think Different” will be valued even more than ever.”  He discusses that right-brain thinking (the creative side – think in pictures) is every bit as important now – in some cases more important – than left-brain thinking (the analytical side – think in facts and figures).

Pink further discusses “six senses” or six “right-brain directed aptitudes,” namely, design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

Now you might well be asking yourself, “what has all this got to do with exhibiting?” I believe that these six aptitudes should make up your entire presence on the trade show floor – from your booth message to how your people interact with prospects.

In “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design & Delivery,” Garr Reynolds goes into great detail about these concepts. Definitely add this book to your library!
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share a very abridged version, and how these six ideas relate to your exhibiting experience.

1. Design – This concept expresses the need to start with the end in mind.  Based on your exhibiting goals, you need time during your before show preparation, to really think about your key message and your target market. Then, together with your exhibit designer (external or internal – small booth or large booth), take your ideas and make them visual.  If you’re an analytic, get help.  There’s an over-abundance of creative types out there in the marketplace, use their talents to help make you different and stand out from the crowd.

2. Story – If you remember back to your school days of “show and tell” didn’t you love to share your stuff with friends, classmates, teachers, and the like – in fact, anyone who would listen to your story.  Believe it or not, we’re all born storytellers, and “storylisteners.” If you’ve ever been around kids at bedtime know that story time reigns supreme.
Think about how you could take your exhibiting message and turn it into a visual story.  Admittedly, for some products and services, this is easier than others. Once again, seek out the creative help you need.

3. Symphony – This concept is all about “seeing the relationships between relationships.”  In other words, taking an idea and talking about it in a whole new way that people truly relate to, and more importantly, remember.  To better understand this, let me share what I experienced this week.
I’m currently working with Dino, a physical therapist at a local sport’s medicine clinic. During one of the exercises he had me do, he started to explain the muscle structure in “anatomicalese” – a language I’m not conversant in. He then took what he was saying and likened it to tasks a factory worker might do – some that needed more work (larger muscles), and others that needed less effort (smaller muscles). Eureka! I saw the relationships immediately. What Dino had done so skillfully, was to relate one thing to another in a unique way that allowed me to fully understand (and visualize) what he was explaining. This truly was symphony in action.

More next week in Part 2.

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.


Are You Really Listening? 6 Trade Show Booth Staff Habits to Avoid

We’ve all been given two ears and one mouth. The question is, “do your people know how to use them in a 2:1 ratio on the tradeshow floor?”

Here are six habits that really upset visitors to your booth.  They all let visitors know that your company representative isn’t really listening to them:

1.  Doing all the talking.

2.  Interrupting when another person is talking.

3.  Never looking at the person talking.

4.  Playing with something in your hands or jangling coins in your pocket.

5.  Keeping a poker face so visitors don’t know whether you understand them.

6.  Being too serious and never smiling.

Change habits takes practice and time.  Awareness is the initial stage.  This is opportunity for your team members to help each other.

Seek help to find out what listening habits you are unaware of, and what you need to do to overcome them to be more effective.

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7 Steps to Tradeshow Crisis Management

The 21st Winter Olympics are about the start.  The buzz of activities and all the arrangements are reaching a crescendo in preparation for the Opening Ceremony.  However, all is not exactly as planned.  The weather is causing havoc – fog, lack of snow and rain are not what was expected to make the events run smoothly.

How similar is this to your trade show plans? Don’t you plan for the ideal situation where everything runs seamlessly? The display and your products all arrive on time, damage-free. Your literature and giveaways are there as planned, Your team makes the trip from all parts of the world with no travel hassles. If only it was that easy!

As we all know, life has its wonderful way of throwing curve balls at us to test our endurance, but most importantly to test how well we’ve planned the event.
What is your Plan B if something untoward happens unexpectedly? Do you have a Plan B and even a Plan C?

Here are seven steps for preparing for the unforeseen:

1. Brainstorm with your team what possible scenarios could occur.
2. Ask other employees for their thoughts on unpredictable situations.
3. List all possible circumstances.
4. Map out each one of the unpredictable situations outlining what and who is needed.
5. Generate a crisis planning checklist.
6. Hold a crisis meeting with everyone who needs to be involved.
7. Create a written plan of action and distribute it to all necessary team members

Follow these seven steps, and then pray very hard that you don’t need to use anything you’ve planned for.

Having a contingency plan in place will give you peace of mind so that you’ll sleep better knowing that everything is under control, whatever happens!