Encouraging Love of Collaboration
The most important asset that a company brings with it to a trade show isn't that new signage you spent so much time designing, or that great new freebie that people will want to get their hands on, or even the product or service you're there for in the first place. It's all about relationships. The relationships you will make with attendees and the relationships among the team that staffs the booth. Face-to-face environments are about building trust, comfort and connection. And to do that your team needs to collaborate.
Saying that you want people to collaborate at a trade show is one thing – actually encouraging it and doing what it takes to make it possible is something else entirely. If you really want to encourage the love of collaboration and help your team function as a whole, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
The Power of Pre-Show Education
A trade show is an environment that’s not quite like any other. It's noisy, high energy, tiring —a challenge to one's diplomatic skills, sales acumen and friendly demeanor. A team member who is great in the naturally collaborative environment of your office may find themselves unprepared for in the hustle-bustle and clamor or the show floor. To combat this, you can be proactive and focus on as much pre-show education as possible.
Lay out the ground rules for exactly what you're trying to accomplish and why. Make sure that everyone knows – whether this is their first show or their 50th – that being collaborative is about more than just helping each other sell.
- They need to know how to interact with many different kinds of people throughout the course of a day.
- Explain to your team the incredible value of a first impression is and how sometimes that first impression may require more than one person to make that connection with an attendee or guest within your space.
- Remember to guide the team with predetermined answers to the types of questions they're likely to be asked and, how to effortlessly pivot to another person on the team who may have an answer in the event that they don't.
- Most importantly, they need to understand that what one of them does can affect the others in positive and negative ways.
One person who isn't intimately familiar with your product line makes the job of everyone else that much harder. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and in a high stakes environment like a trade show, weak links aren't something you can afford.
Use Group Think to Solve Problems
If someone was assigned a task that they don't understand or can't get done, they'll have no choice but to reach out to someone for help. Coming up with group solutions is collaboration at its finest. It not only creates a sense of trust among team members, but it also fosters innovation. When people start working together the results are often bigger than any one person can achieve.