Speaking at a Trade Show Without Saying a Word : The Power of Body Language

Photo Credit: http://savannahsbdc.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard at one time or another that over 90% of communication is non-verbal. We all give away hints as to how we feel without saying a word. When exhibiting at a trade show, it is imperative to be aware of what your body language says to a potential client. There are several things to keep in mind to appear approachable in this situation.


  • Making eye contact is the most crucial sign of interest in what a person is saying.  Eye contact shows that your attention is directed to the person with whom you are speaking. It also shows that you are honest and interested in what the other person has to say.


  • Crossed arms are a sign of defensiveness and hostility, which is the last feeling that you want to portray to a potential client. Standing with your hands on your hips is a sign of superiority, and would also not be the way to start a relationship with a client.


  • Finding the right proximity to a potential client can be tricky. You do not want to be far away from the person, yet you do not want to stand too close.  A good rule of thumb is to leave 2 feet of space between yourself and the person with whom you are speaking.


  • A simple smile can go a long way in making a potential client feel at ease when talking with you. Smiling gives of a feeling of warmth and implies a positive attitude.


  • Be conscious to not engage in any fidgeting while exhibiting. Biting your nails, shaking your leg, checking your cell phone, tapping your fingers, and other habits give the impression that you are either not interested in meeting with attendees, or nervous.


  • There is a belief that there is a link between speaking fast and deception. When speaking with a potential client, pace your speech to not only make sure that the other person is understanding what you are saying, but to show that you are being sincere and honest.


  • Sitting down when exhibiting is a definitive faux pas.  This position means the client has to bend down to speak with you, and gives the client the impression that you are not interested in making new contacts.


At a trade show, you only have a few seconds to make an impression on attendees passing by the display. While your display will be what catches their attention, positive body language demonstrated by the staff will invite potential clients to spend more time at your exhibit.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 










Going the Distance: Tips for Staying Energized When Exhibiting

By: Lisa Shackelford, M.S.

Trade shows are a great way to meet potential clients face-to-face and build relationships. However, working an exhibit can be mentally and physically exhausting. In order to get the most out of face-to-face meetings with potential clients, it is necessary to be as alert and enthusiastic at the end of the show as at the beginning of the show. Here are some ways to boost your trade show exhibiting stamina.

Wear comfortable shoes that still look professional.  Having aching feet will no doubt affect your mood, how the rest of your body holds up, and how you appear to potential clients.

Make sure to take a lunch break. While the display needs to be covered at all time, work out a schedule so that everyone working can take a lunch break. Do not bring the food back to the booth to eat. Find a quiet spot to sit down and relax while eating. Even if the break is short, it gives you time to re-energize, which will show when interacting with potential customers.

Bring a supply of strong breath mints.  The mints serve two purposes: one is to ensure that your breath is fresh when speaking with clients; the other is to create an invigorating sensation that will put your senses on alert.

Eat breakfast before the trade show begins.  This will give you increased energy throughout the day.

Keep hydrated. Hide a water bottle out of sight and take frequent water breaks.

Take frequent breaks to walk the floor.  Walking around will increase your blood flow, and will revitalize both your mind and body. This also allows you the chance to network and investigate competitors’ exhibits.

Get a good night’s sleep the night before a show.  While it may be tempting to go out all night, especially in a new city, your body and your lead generation will pay the price the next day,

Bring high-protein snacks.  Snacks like almonds, apples, bananas, etc. can give your energy a boost.  Avoid sugary or salty snacks and avoid eating at the display.

Talk to your neighbors during down time.  A short, friendly conversation can provide a mental pick-me-up during a slower portion of the day.

In order to make the most of a trade show exhibit, the workers need to be energized and ready to speak with potential clients at any moment. The energy shown by those staffing the display directly affects the image of the company, and the leads and sales that will stem from a trade show appearance.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 

Ratios to Get Finance On Board with your Trade Show Exhibit

Trade shows create unique and unparalleled opportunities for any business. However, it can be a daunting task to convince the individuals in Finance or Accounting that the one-time expense is worth the investment. It is important to have the finance team’s support for a trade shows exhibit campaign. Since Finance departments make decisions based on ratios and figures, here are some figures to use that will show the financial value of exhibiting at a trade show.


  • # of leads generated/cost of show attendance = Cost per Lead – This will help show the cost effectiveness of being at the show, which will help alleviate the concerns about spending the initial capital investment. If you can, use historical data from last year’s appearance, or an appearance at a similar show.


  • # of sales from leads generated/# of leads generated = Lead to Sale Conversion Ratio –  Since sales are the source of incoming revenue, tracking sales from a trade show exhibit is essential to justify any spending on a show to finance.  The easiest way to keep track of this is through the use of a database. All leads should be entered into the database and the actions taken to move the lead to a sale should be documented in the database as well.


  • # of existing clients attending/# of attendees= % of attendees who are existing clients – Finance knows the cost of gaining a new customer is much higher than retaining established clients.  Showing your colleagues in Finance this ratio reiterates the value of the show not just for growth, but also for maintaining current market share.


  • (Gain from Show-Cost of Show)/Cost of Show= Return on Show Attendance– Return On Investment (ROI) is a very common financial formula used when deciding on which projects should be funded. By showing a positive ROI, not only will finance appreciate that it is one less equation to solve, but will also give a sense of security that the investment is worth pursuing.


  • Cost of show/# of contacts made= Cost per Contact – This is helpful in evaluating trade shows against other forms of marketing, especially sales calls.

The key to justifying your trade show expenses to the Finance department is to make sure that you have adequate facts and figures that show how exhibiting at a trade show is cost-effective and impacts the company’s bottom line positively.