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Make the Most of Your Trade Show Appearance

Make the Most of Your Trade Show Appearance

Deciding to invest time, energy, and money into a trade show appearance is a big decision. While it presents an opportunity to secure new customers, leading to higher sales, it can also result in losses if you can’t convert visitors into buyers.

To help ensure you get the most out of your trade show investment, here are some tips designed to give you the best experience possible.

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Choose the Right Trade Show

The first step to a great trade show experience is picking the right one. Begin your search by focusing on shows that are for the product or service you are offering. You can use basic web searches to get you started, but you may be able to save time by connecting with industry associations related to your product or service. If you are interested in smaller shows, your local Chamber of Commerce may have information regarding nearby events.

Once you have a few in mind, do your research regarding the standard visitor. Some larger shows attract a lot of attention but do not necessarily bring in a lot of potential customers. Often, the show manager can provide you information regarding the previous years to help you determine if the event is a good fit.

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Determine Your Goal                   

You shouldn’t participate in a trade show without a clear goal in mind. Participating in the event requires an investment of time and money, so it is important to focus on what you intend to accomplish. For example, you may prioritize sales, generating press, demonstrating a new product, or simply building a rapport with customers. By understanding why you are there, you can keep all of your efforts working in a primary direction throughout your time at the trade show.

Staff Appropriately

At a minimum, you need at least one other person to support your trade show booth. This allows you each to take breaks when needed or steal a moment to check out the competition, without running the risk of leaving your space unattended. Larger events, with a high number of visitors, may require more personnel so that potential customers can be addressed in a timely fashion.

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Make sure your staff is knowledgeable about the product or service, and fully apprised of your goals regarding the event. Focus on being friendly, upbeat, and approachable. It is wise for you and your staff to be easily identified as representing your company, so a standardized uniform, or a coordinated look with name tags, help separate your employees from the visitors.

Promote the Event

Part of your success is dependent on the success of the event overall. Make an effort to advertise your intent to attend as well as noting the name of the show. Mailing and email lists can be quite effective, though you may yield better results by contacting your top customers over the phone.

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If appropriate, contact any local press about the event. Send out press releases to highlight noteworthy portions of the exhibit, especially if you intend to unveil a new offering during the trade show. Consider creating press kits and have them brought to the event’s press room area to raise your chances of being covered.

Design Your Display

The quality of your trade show display is vital to your success. You need to keep your space well-organized while also taking the time to make it visually attractive. While having some high-impact visual elements can bring in visitors, avoid overloading the senses with too many graphical details. Make sure you include one large graphic that can be recognized at a distance. Any takeaway materials need to be highly accessible and easy to identify.

Make Follow Up Easy

Prior to the event, create a follow-up mailer, email, or newsletter. That way, you already have the content you need immediately after the show. When collecting contact information, determine a centralized method for consistency. You can even use a giveaway as a method for collecting potential customer data, allowing the information to be provided directly by the visitor and deposited in a specific place.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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