The Most Overlooked Trade Show Skill

Joe Greeley here, with Nimlok Minnesota.

Here’s what’s on my mind – Do you smile enough?

Think about it, do you?  I know, you probably don’t think about it.  Hey, neither do I.  It’s not something that’s on our minds all the time.  But I want you to think about the power of the smile just for a moment.  Think about kids.  And I don’t mean teenagers, I don’t think teenagers smile – younger kids, pre-teens if you will.  Think about when they smile. What does it do?  It makes you happy, right? That’s why advertisers use them all the time. It just makes you happy, puts you in a better mood.

Now think of just the opposite, right? Think of the scowlers and the frowners.  Same thing – puts you kind of just in that dull, off mood.  Might not make you mad, but just kind of melancholy, if you will…right?

So here’s the thing. You’ve put together your exhibit, you’ve got this wonderful exhibit, you’ve got this new product launch, you’ve got pre-show marketing that’s going great, you’ve got new lighting, new engagement tools, everything is falling into place.  You get done with the show and you go, hmm…kinda similar.  What did we miss? What should we have done differently?  Well, there’s always room for improvement in the exhibit, don’t get me wrong we can always tweak some things.

But the only part that too often doesn’t get looked at, is your people. And what I mean is, are you sending the people that smile? Are you sending the people that want to be there? Do they smile enough? And I know it sounds almost silly, doesn’t it? But too often we just assume that the same people are going to go from year to year to year.  Why?  Well because they’re part of this, or they have this skill set.  Well, the skill set on the show floor is more about smiling sometimes than it is about product knowledge.  Yes, you have to have both, but you don’t want too much of product knowledge and not enough of the other.

Think of it this way for a second.  You’ve got two employees, right? You’ve got Sally, and you’ve got Mick.  Now Sally’s been going to shows forever and she knows the product and service inside and out – hands down she’s the go-to person. But she hasn’t cracked a smile since 2002 since she discovered YouTube videos of dancing cats dressed as Batman!  Well that’d make me smile, too, but that’s some other questions.  Then you’ve got Mick on the other hand, right?  He smiles all the time.  The whole staff kind of congregates around him just a little bit.  He knows the product and service, maybe he’s not as experienced.  But who do you want to be the face of your company? Is that the missing link? Yeah, we’ve been sending Sally for years, or we’ve been sending these people for years, but we keep getting the same results. Well, sometimes it’s the people. You can keep changing the exhibit and keep tweaking things, and rightfully so.  But there’s one piece that too often just gets overlooked.

An old Chinese proverb says, “A man without a smiling face should not open a shop.” A man without a smiling face should also not work a trade show exhibit.

So recently, just out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to do some research.  So I punched into the Googler, “What takes more effort, a smile or a frown?”  Unfortunately I didn’t really get the answer I wanted, no real clear data.  But I did run across something at least somewhat interesting that kind of backed up what we’re talking about today.  Some guy with way too much time on his hands did an experiment.  He pulled out a yearbook from about 20 years prior of a graduating class. He contacted every single one of them. He asked them the same questions. And what he found, overwhelmingly, was that people that smile in the yearbook were more successful and happier people across the board.

Now I realize, not everything coming out of the Googler is true, but I’m latching on to this one as pretty good.  It only makes sense, doesn’t it?  Now you might say, “Hey Joe, you know what, that’s fine, it’s a little bit of B.S.”  Maybe, but here’s the thing. A guy by the name of Ron Gutman did a TED Talk about the hidden power of smiling that backs up a little bit of the science. Take a look when you get a chance.

Keep smiling, and think about the staff that you’re sending to the show.

That’s it for today, let us know how we can help. Thanks for listening, and keep smiling.