Manning the stand

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Pounced Upon or Ignored?

Posted on June 30, 2015

Being pounced upon or ignored are the top two pet hates of exhibition visitors. It's ironic that these are the two extremes of stand staff behaviour that visitors often encounter. So what's the answer? How do you tread that line between pushiness and neglect?

Pouncing on visitors is often a result of over enthusiasm, staff are so anxious to seize every potential opportunity that they come across as overbearing. On the other hand ignoring the visitor can be the result of staff lacking confidence in initiating contact and being desperately worried about being seen as pushy. Occasionally it could be misplaced arrogance, the 'if they have a real interest they'll approach me' type attitude.

Visitors initially need to feel that you're available if they want you. Staff can begin by acknowledging the visitors presence by a simple smile or greeting without necessarily moving towards the visitor, this gives the signal that it's safe to proceed and if they have an immediate query you're there to help. After a 'period' whilst the visitor takes in the stand, your material or some object of interest it's time to initiate contact (a subject for future discussion), the length of the 'period' will normally be a few seconds it's down to the visitors' body language.

When staff make contact if their manner is easy going, pleasant and they qualify well they should not be perceived by the visitor as being pushy. Visitors equate pushiness with being kept around when they want to go because they can see no benefit in the conversation, this is often because stand staff have not qualified correctly so they're talking about stuff the visitor has no interest in.

Of course, the overriding factor at an exhibition is that you are there to make contact with visitors so there's no shying away from that, however you want those contacts to be positive so in common with most things in life there is a middle way.