Everything that you read about leadership and managing teams, is strongly linked to successful people management in a live trade show environment. Aiming to get your people perform at their best by religiously integrating a matrix of performance and engagement can lead to success and positive experiences for all stakeholders involved.
The essentials of embracing the human relations theory for better trade shows can relate to four fundamental elements:
1. The High Performers Karma
In business, like in life, there is a spiritual principle of cause and effect, when you think and do the right things to attract the right kind of people.
The Karma of hiring high performers evolves with a humane thinking about the type of booth staff you want to place in your team. This is not only driven by assessing competencies, skills or abilities, but by relying on the knowledge capital that your team developed while working in different areas of your business.
The Karma is triggered by trust that the staff you work with at your trade shows are professionally and emotionally ready to take on stress and pressurised situations, all with an end-goal in mind - the high engagement you want to create around your brand on the show floor.
When it comes to real trade show engagement, the expertise and personality of your staff can determine how far they go in preparing, understanding and managing the exhibiting process seamlessly. For this reason, it makes even more sense to allocate people who can adapt to any circumstances and are particularly aware about the dynamics of a live marketing environment.
The staff allocation process comes down to a belief that adopting a high performers karma is a mantra of adaptability and personal presence: working with staff who are the best cultural fit to the audience or country you are exhibiting in.
2. The Vision and results driven mind-frame
The results driven mind frame is about how you can convert great effort into purposeful work at trade shows. The answer lies in applying leadership and management methods to clarify what the overall deliverables should be at the event:
- Tell people what they have to achieve and leave them find their own way to deliver results
- Clarify your expectations and vision about the show
- Advise them for the best and prepare them for the worst
Your vision sparks the fuel for your team to work hard and communicating what that is can only help you achieve more from every trade show.
3. The “Inspiring People” ethos
If you have read about the XY theory of people management, you will probably remember that the difference between X and Y styles stands in control. A more participative and de-centralised management style will make people more creative, self-motivated and in charge of their own tasks.
For business-to-business trade shows, we can suggest that a Z theory of people management would be more appropriate. This would retain aspects of both X and Y, but also include the “Inspiring People” ethos as a core component: balance positive encouragement with discipline; make sure the attitude towards your staff transpires commitment and mission to make the exhibiting process an amazing experience for everyone at your booth. Give people a positive sounding to make them feel inspired by your marketing vision.
Last but not least, remember that Inspiring is not cheerleading; it is a rather continuous improvement of communication and management style, giving people challenges and encouraging them to find their own reasons to excel and to be as proactive as possible at trade shows.
4. The “Work for your People” Principle
People respond to other people’s positive energy; they are unconsciously trying to demonstrate that every single objective for the event, matters for them because it matters to you.
Trade shows involve working with internal and external staff, and international suppliers; spending time to inform or to express the type of energy that you want them to perform with starts with showing that you work for them too, that you create the tools and provide the help they need, ultimately to make visitor engagement happen.
Remember what Albert Einstein said about insanity – “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That is exactly what your trade show process and people management should be about. Take the basic leadership principle – of serving others – and transform it in a belief and practice of team support and motivation, the “Work for your People” Principle.
How people management matters at trade shows?
In the trade shows industry, there is a need to promote excellence and best practices of managing teams, as well as becoming more aware about theoretical aspects of leadership and people management.
Here are some question marks to reflect on:
- Did you get what you expected from your last trade show?
- Do you choose the right people to work with you at a trade show?
- What results are you expecting from the exhibition?
- What vision do you want to empower your people with?
- How do you inspire the people who work with you towards achieving better trade show results?
There is no fixed “How To” Formula of people management in live marketing environments. There is however an expert’s attitude, which can be led by these four essential elements. When the “Hiring Performers Karma, the results driven mind-frame, the inspirational management style and the “Work for your People” principle are congruent with your purpose when managing trade shows, you can create unbelievable outcomes; the audience is engaged, your teams are happy and the return on event increases trade show by trade show.
Developing a behaviour that values people, and serving teams to drive more results, is the trick to create better trade shows not only for visitors, but for your team and all the people working with you at the event.