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  Musings #6

It was a plea for help!

Barb, could you come by the Show and check out our booth space.  We usually set up either an island at 40' x 40' or a line display at 30' x 10' and against a wall.  We thought going to the island would help us to be more interactive, but we still seem to be missing the connections between staff and potential client. 

We have a little budget and could make a purchase before our next show but we are not certain what we are missing?  Help!

Making a trip to the Show, I went early.  By being early, I arrived before staff were in the booth and could have a good look at the way their display, banner stands, brochure holders, and counters were arranged.  All seemed to be in good order.  The 40' x 40' island had space to move around, there was a computer/tablet station off to one side and near the back of the booth.  Good positioning, would allow staffers to bring individuals into the space, answer their questions and allow the potential client to take a look for themselves at how the product worked through the internet or  software program.  Product was placed to catch attention but not create a barrier, also good.  Messaging was clear, and concise.  I knew instantly who they were and what they do.  Light was great, colours and images were wonderful!  Great job.

I moseyed on, taking in the rest of the show before the crowds became heavy.  Making my way back to the client's booth, I stopped, out of sight from the booth staff.  From my vantage point, I could observe how traffic flowed past their booth, how the staff were connecting with individuals and how the potential clients were making their way through the booth space itself.  What were the individual show-attendees looking for, what were they drawn to, and how did they interact with the staff?

WAIT!!!   Where were the staff?  Ahhh, there they were, in the back of the booth, 3 individual staff members, chatting, having coffee, their backs facing the attendees, not interacting.  Continuing to observe, I noticed an attendee go to the "group" and ask a question.  Oh good, I thought, now they will realize the Show had opened and their were potential clients milling about.  Nope...the one individual, walked a few short paces, picked out a brochure, and handed it to the attendee with the question, then went back to the "group".

Problem solved.............why buy more stuff?  The stuff was great!  Connections were not being made, because no one in the booth was proactively engaging and interacting with the attendees.

The most interactive component of your booth should be your staff!

Share your thoughts with Barb, click.

Musings #5

A Problem or a Challenge....
....How often do you hear, or even say, "I have a problem"?  The dictionary describes a problem as an unwelcome matter or situation that needs to be dealt with or overcome.  So then, what is a challenge?  A challenge is described as a call to confrontation. 

If we confront each problematic matter or situation are we then answering the challenge?  If we ignore, complain, whine or give up, do our actions say we are ignoring the need to deal with or overcome the matter or situation?

Granted all matters and situations are not easily overcome and present themselves as more than unwelcome.  (and yes, I do understand)  Having said that though, recognizing that challenges can help us grow stronger, or they can defeat us is the key.  So, here are a few easy steps:

  • Accept the "call to confront" the challenge
  • Define, articulate, or identify the challenge - know what you are facing
  • Recognize this as a bend or fork in the road, not a dead end
  • Take a moment to reflect on past challenges and how you moved through and past them, what did you learn?
  • Identify the steps required to move forward
  • Ask for help, guidance, wisdom, training, or just find someone to talk this out with to gain further insight
  • Move forward, don't get stuck - Implement the steps you have identified
  • Continue forward

In asking several people, which is worse, a problem or a challenge and why, we consistently heard, "problems require solutions and we don't have the solution".  Comments for challenges, on the other hand, "challenges can be confronted, if a challenge presents itself, there are actions to apply..."  I would much rather face a challenge than have a problem with no hope.  Yet, both are defined as situations to overcome.  Let's look at our problems as challenges and face them head on!

Share your thoughts with Barb, click.

Musings #4

A Little More Happy....
....being grateful for all the goodness that is evident in your life will give you a greater sense of happy.  So many negative messages bombard us throughout our day. It can start early in the morning, when we jump out of bed, excited to start a new day and stub our toe, really, really stub our toe, ouch!  (or maybe, it's an unkind word, or look, or it's cold outside, or, well, you fill in the blanks with your negative thought(s)).  We can forget our early morning enthusiasm and focus on the pain or we can acknowledge the pain and regain our focus. 

Do you want to change your daily focus, or do you want a little bit more happy?  Try one or two of these:

  1. Name the 10 most important things in your life you are thankful for.
  2. Post this note where you can see it every day - maybe the bathroom mirror, or on the inside of your briefcase, or on the dash of your vehicle
  3. Think on something you are truly grateful for and just spend a few moments reflecting on that something, appreciating it and soaking it all in, smile
  4. Laugh out loud for absolutely no reason, a really, big belly laugh

Share your thoughts with Barb, click.

Musings #3

The Most Important Social Tool in Your Box... this day of social this and social that, what do you think is the most important "tool" in your business box?  Is it your website? YourFacebook page? Your LinkedIn profile?  Your Twitter account?  Your cell phone?  Your print media?  Your trade show display, your brochures....and on and on?  What would you pick?  I suppose you could argue, it depends on what business you are in, but...

I would suggest, no matter the business, the most important social tool in your box is your people!  Let's think trade shows first (because, that is what we do, of course).  Yes, you need a professional looking booth that says who you are and what you do, and you need to eliminate your barriers and  encourage interaction with your products, with your technology, etc., and you certainly need to let people know you are at that show, but more than that, the most important interactive part of your display will be your people.

Booth staff need to be open, interactive, encouraging and certainly engaging.  Engaging, means, your staff are out front, available, being proactive by either, making the first move, or by observing the potential client and being at the ready.  Anyone working your booth needs to be:

  1. Informed - they should know who you are and what your products and services are, inside out and backwards, or at least specialize in part and know how to get the answers to questions they cannot answer.  How do you handle this?
  2. Aware - communicate, communicate, communicate the reason you are at the trade show.  Everyone should be on the same page.  What are you trying to achieve?  What goals have you set for this trade show, and for your overall trade show program.  Have you set some goals?
  3. Trained - your booth staff may be more comfortable out in the field, one on one, behind a desk or behind a computer even  You but them into the booth space and they become less productive, even fearful.  A little training can break the barrier and help you reach your goals.  How are you doing this?
  4. Consistent - you need to measure your programs and trade shows are no different.  How do we know if we are successful in our endeavors unless we are consistently measuring our success.  Booth staff need the tools to measure.  How are you doing this?
  5. Smiling - begin, build, follow through and maintain relationships.  Do business by building relationships.  It's all about the people!

Are you being social in other parts of your business?  If it is all about the people and taking care of the relationships within and without your business, then what are you doing to be "social".  Get out and socialize or stay in and socialize, but connect with the people.

Share your thoughts with Barb, click.

Musings #2

Business - Taking the horse & cart on the road........
.........taking our last "Musings", into the world of advertising and specifically into the commercial, home, or trade show.  The same logic would apply to your business.  You would of course, still put the horse first. 

If the cart represents your business products and/or services and you have spent considerable time developing those products and services, building your business and building good client relations, then your cart is full of very precious cargo!  However, the horse is still out front.  The horse is your first impression.  In the case of the commercial, home, or trade show, the first impression may be your signage, banners, and your display, with all of the "stuff" you add to your space.

So, take a quick moment to think about how you are presenting your business at the Show.  You have just a few short seconds to say who you are, what you do, and do it in a professional, well organized, easy to understand manner.   Too much information, too much product, can detract from your clear message, causing show goers to walk on by.  They may not really see you, hiding behind that overly decorated "cart", or that cluttered "cart", or that not so clean and tidy "cart".

Keep your message simple!  All that product and service information can be handled through a simple handout, guiding the show goer through simple demonstration in the booth, or giving them a keepsake that will take them to your on-line marketing and/or social avenues.  Everyone and anyone passing by your booth, should quickly know who you are and what you do.  They should not have to stand in the aisle, with finger on their chin, eyebrows crossed and thinking caps on to figure it out.

Keep your area free of barriers!  If you have a large booth, your potential client should be able to walk through your space, through your equipment or product, and through the interactive areas with ease.  If you have a small booth, keep the front area open and inviting.  Remember there are barriers we don't think about - piles of garbage, empty boxes, discarded food wrappers, etc., are not inviting - the body language of the booth staff can also be a barrier, if they are slouching from fatigue or if they are talking with the neighbour, or just displaying unfriendly body language, they could be turning people away.

First impressions are just that, first.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Make it count!  For more information or to Share your thoughts with Barb, click.

Musings #1

If you had a cart and you had a horse........

............which would you put first?  Your answer will likely be, why the horse of course!  Interesting thought comes to mind.  If the horse comes first, then why do we put all the emphasis on the cart and it's contents, rather than on grooming the horse?  Here's something to think on.......

Recently, an individual voiced frustration over not so successful job interviews, not being taken seriously in their field of interest and their career passion.  When asked what they thought was holding them back, their answer was, "I don't know.  I just don't understand it.  I have a great personality, enviable work ethic, and I am intelligent, and gifted in my field. My resume and portfolio have been professionally done and I am not certain why I am always turned away before I have the opportunity to show them off!  Help me please!"

First Impressions, how we present ourselves, is so important.  Upon further exploration, it was discovered this promising person's first impression, may have been the barrier to fulfilling their career and business passions.  Their cart was full of wonderful "stuff" - a personality full of life, humour, integrity, and interest; a mind ready to explode with creativity, insights, clear thinking, and vision; a style that promotes team building with listening, engagement, and readiness.  The horse, on the other hand, the first impression, attached to this cart...well that was a different matter.

What does your outward appearance say about you?  Are you dressed in a way that really reflects who you are inside? When this aspect was explored, it was discovered the relaxed outward appearance that included clothing from top to shoes, as well, as grooming aspects such as hair style, condition of clothing, and the way this individual stood and sat or carried themselves.  At first the discussion started with this, "The way I dress and the way I look is not important to me, people need to judge me by my personality and my credentials, not how I look.  If I put emphasis on how I look, then they are not really seeing what I have to offer, they are making a judgment on what they see."   Ah, and that was the crux of it all. 

People were making judgments based on what they saw.  Shame on them, you say?  Not so, every one of us makes a judgment by what we see.  First impressions; you do not get a second chance.  How do you present yourself?  Does your current "style" suggest you are so comfortable you may sleep on the job, or not finish what you started?  Does your style say, I am not organized, suggesting you may be late for work regularly, or not be detailed enough to get the job done without mistakes and redo's?  You want to say you are creative, and yet, you present yourself in a dull, oh hum fashion, or are you living in an "old" trend?

Take what's inside, and present it on the outside.  Too often what we think is individual style, is really just us hiding behind a "cloak".  You will be more confident, exciting, and able to build more productive, more rewarding, and more sustaining relationships with prospective employers, clients, and even your friends and family if you let the inside out and remember your first impression really does count! 

We work so hard at building the cart and putting it forward, but it takes time to go through the cart and really get a good sense of what is inside, and the work and effort it took to get it where it is today, this is a process.  The horse, on the other hand, is right up front, the first impression, the instantaneous judgment, and seen instantly, misunderstood, maybe, but it is still the first impression and those that see you briefly, do not have the benefit of time.  Be transparently true to who you are - the real you, the one inside.

Share your thoughts with Barb

Barbara de la Sablonniere


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Award Winning

Trainer, Author, Speaker, Thinker