Often, someone preparing for a trade show will spend countless hours conducting research, printing flyers, and planning exactly how their exhibit will appear to trade show attendees. Many forget they are part of the exhibit as well!
Even if your exhibit space is prepared with the best information, people will be turned off if they see someone who seems disorganized, bored, tired, too aggressive, or simply unprofessional. Fortunately, there are several steps that trade show participants can take to ensure they exude powerful body language that makes them appear friendly, appealing, and professional.
First, think of your exhibit space as a stage. During the trade show, you and your product are on display. It is essential to remain composed the entire time because your audience is always watching.
Powerful Body Language Tips
When running a booth at a trade show, stand up straight in a natural stance with your feet apart. Don’t cross your arms, and try to keep your hands above your waistline.
Don’t be afraid to gesture with your hands. Hand gestures can signify competence, control, intelligence, and confidence to the potential customers you meet during a trade show. But don’t overdo them or use unnatural hand gestures. They can make you come across fake and insincere.
Avoid looking bored by making use of the space allotted to you in your exhibit area. Walk around the space, and smile at onlookers. Make eye contact with other vendors, small children, and anyone else who looks your way. Do not be afraid to speak to trade show attendees, even if they are just passing by. Allowing yourself to stay engaged during the trade show will help decrease the chances of accidentally appearing unprofessional, bored, or tired.
Body Language That Should be Avoided
While some powerful body language can make you seem confident, other types of body language can have the opposite effect. Specific body language to avoid includes fidgeting, cracking your knuckles, playing with your hair, and any other behaviors that you usually revert to when you are nervous. These nervous—and potentially annoying—habits can make passersby mistake your nervousness for incompetence.
How to Avoid Performing Negative Body Language
The best way to prepare your body language for your trade show exhibit is to practice. When actors prepare for shows, they don’t just hit the stage and wing it. They practice for weeks or months before the big day. Since the trade show exhibit is your stage, practice your body language and behavior before going on.
One of the best ways to become more conscious of your mannerisms is to videotape yourself in a similar situation. When you watch the video back, take note of behavior that makes you seem nervous or unprofessional. Be sure to listen as well. Are you chomping on gum? Are your keys hanging from your belt, making noise? Watching this video may help you become aware of behaviors you didn’t even know you were doing and allow you to correct them before the show.
This preparation will help you feel more confident and appear more professional when you finally arrive at your event. And being confident will help you become a better sales representative, who communicates with customers in a professional, competent manner.