Tips for Creating a Strong Team Atmosphere in your Trade Show Booth

There are times and places in modern business for personality and individuality – but trade shows really aren’t one of them. One factor in trade show planning that we try to emphasize is that everyone at your trade show display is a brand ambassador.20x100 nimlok trade show exhibit

They’re there representing your company, and no one else, so it’s absolutely vital that all of your trade show employees remember this throughout the show.

As long as the exposition hall doors are open, and they’re all wearing your company shirts, your booth staff need to be truly representing for your company. Having a real sense of camaraderie and teamwork at your booth can go a long way towards making this a reality.

So, today, let’s talk about cultivating teamwork – and team responsibility – in your upcoming trade show displays!

There’s No “I” In “Trade Show Team”

1 – Only take those who truly want to be there.

First and foremost, if you compel your employees to go to trade shows they don’t want to attend, they’re probably not going to be terribly motivated while there. Given that maintaining morale at a lengthy expo appearance is an issue with even the most-motivated teams, you simply do not want dead weight at your trade show booth. Disengaged trade staff can really hurt your show.

This isn’t a situation where pulling rank will help, and it might even cause resentment that bleeds into live customer interactions. Finding employees who are honestly motivated to attend will save you a lot of headaches.

2 – Form your team early.

We often advise that firms which show at a lot of expositions go ahead and form an official, or at least semi-official, staff list for your convention displays who are slated to attend most appearances. Ultimately, the more time they have to prepare will pay off in terms of better performance during the show.

If you don’t currently have a set team, we recommend giving at least a month’s warning to anyone that you want to attend the upcoming show.

3 – Assign specific tasks.

Unless you have an awesome team-oriented workforce to start with, you’re going to get better results out of your crew if they have specific jobs to do. Otherwise, they tend to look lost and confused, which doesn’t project well at an exhibition.

Some potential job assignments:

1) Direct visitor interactions / lead building.

2) Online research or calls back to the office for more info.

3) Attendee tracking and demographic recording.

4) Scouting other booths at the trade show while watching their attendance.

5) Aiding visitors with technology or demos.

6) Running social media updates and/or capturing media of the event.

These job roles may not be set in stone, but if everyone shows up to a trade show with a good idea of what they’ll be doing, they’ll spend less time looking confused. For fun jobs, like scoping out the competition, consider rotating assigned staff so everyone gets time to explore the show and add input.

We also recommend bringing along one extra person to keep “on deck” back at the hotel, to handle any unexpected contingencies.un jobs, like scoping out the competition, consider rotating assigned staff so everyone gets time to explore the show and add input.

4 – Have team practice sessions.

Like football or any other team activity – practice makes everything run better. Once you have roles assigned, take some time off to run a practice trade show booth while other coworkers pester you with questions.

It’s (usually) fun for everyone involved, and gets your crew used to working in their roles prior to the show.

This is also a good time to quiz people and test their knowledge of your products. We harp on this a lot because it has a real negative impact whenever it happens at actual shows: Your staffmust be fully informed about your products and able to field most questions on their own.

5 – Create set team goals, with rewards.

Another way to energize your trade show staff and working together is through clearly-defined goals for the event. Using a “carrot” of some sort always helps keep morale up, especially during exhausting multi-day trade shows.luminair-inflatable-banner-display

We generally do not recommend individual competitive goals, although this ultimately boils down to how well you know your coworkers. If your workforce is mature and able to handle a bit of friendly competition, it can work. However, in our experience, just one employee getting over-competitive can wreck everything.

Keep in mind that an employee’s willingness to get underhanded in competitions is usually proportional to the prize being offered. Which is to say, if you’re giving away a car, people will probably get cutthroat. Keep that in mind when crafting incentives.

6 – Play in-booth games.

Trade shows can be dull, and keeping up team spirit is often a matter of keeping your team entertained enough that they don’t get cranky. When times are slow, look for ways to let your hair down a bit and have fun at your booth without being overtly unprofessional about it.

7 – Party time comes after the trade show.

This isn’t so much of a factor at one-day shows, but if you’re going to a multi-day event, you need to keep your staff sober in the evening. Trust us – if it’s Sunday morning at a trade show, and half the staff is wearing sunglasses, everyone knows why.

If your team wants to have a party after the show, when there’s nothing left the next day besides a bus or plane ride, that’s one thing. However, having people showing up hungover (or worse) at a trade show can be devastating to team morale, especially to those who made the effort to behave responsibly.

8 – Give everyone some social media time.

Social media is one area where employees can show off their individuality without it disrupting a company’s message. If you want to show off your trade show booth staff, and show that you can be a team made up of individuals, let everyone take their turn making social media commentaryabout the event.

How much leeway to give them is another matter that’s up to your professional judgment of your staff. Ultimately, a company that can trust its employees to individually promote its interests will fare best in social media, but that’s not something every firm can immediately jump into.

9 – Consider hiring outsourced booth staff.

There are pretty extensive pros and cons to hiring booth-specific staff, but in some cases it’s the best option for a company looking to improve the quality of their trade show display presentations. Actors and presenters who professionally run convention displays will have limited product knowledge, but most likely will have vastly more experience in dealing with attendees while creating a team-like atmosphere.

Combining a mix of professional staffers with suitable, product-savvy company employees may be a very good strategy. This may also be a good choice if your own office environment is informal, and you’re concerned about the ability of your workers to put up a professional front for too long.

10 – No One Runs A Trade Show Display Alone

Out of all the choices you make when designing a trade show display, there may be no more important decision than which staff members you take along. Banner stands, great trade show graphics, and branded freebies all help add to your impact, but at the end of the day, it’s the members of your team that people will remember.

Pick a great team with high morale and a real focus on the visitor experience, and you’re far more likely to have a great exposition appearance!

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