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.