Research reveals that most communication is nonverbal; in fact, studies show that 55% of the of our communication is done through body language – some claim even more. We see this in many ways. Handshakes. Those who nod along as someone else is speaks. People looking at their phone when someone else is talking.

In essence, no matter how great your pitch is, it is critical that your team’s body language at a trade show conveys the right message to prospective customers. Here are easy body language tricks to do just that.

    1. Shake Hands.

      Physical touch is the most primitive nonverbal cue. Even if a touch is less than 1/40 of a second, it fosters the start of a human bond. According to a study by the Income Center for Trade Shows, people are twice as likely to remember you when there’s been a handshake. It’s a method so simple, yet very powerful.


    1. Remove physical barriers.

      When there are obstructions between you and a prospect, that physical barrier also translates into an emotional one. When speaking at your booth, for example, make sure you’re not holding a water bottle or product in between you and their face. (Also keep this in mind for booth design; in each place they may interact with someone, there should be no physical barriers between the prospects and the trade show booth team.)


    1. Feeling nervous before the trade show? Power pose.

      People are attracted to confidence. Even if you don’t feel especially self-assured, you can boost your confidence in 2 minutes. Stand like a star. Legs spread about hip width. Arms up and open. Expand your chest. Heck, smile while you do it. After 2 minutes, it’s amazing how much more confident you’ll feel. As discussed in Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, such a pose literally increases your testosterone (feelings of greater confidence) and lowers cortisol (which, in turn, lowers stress).


    1. Mirror their behavior and body language.

      People feel comfortable with familiarity. See the way they approach and interact with you; imitating their body language conveys agreeability and is a surprisingly effective way to accelerate a relationship.


    1. Be mindful of space.

      Note how far you apart you are. It’s important not back away while they are talking, as that appears as if you’re ready to run away from them. Too close is also uncomfortable; within a foot or two is going to make people feel awkward and ready to leave your booth. Note where they stand and keep that distance accordingly. Keep in mind that in different cultures different distances are acceptable. Be open and aware to those possibilities.


    1. Use your hands.

      The Broca’s area of the brain is critical for speech production. Fun fact: It is not only active when you speak, it activates when you use hands. Gesturing is strongly linked to speech, so using hands as you talk can help power up your thinking and words and convey a look of knowledge and excitement to prospects. This is especially effective for those people whose primary representational system is visual.


    1. Look at people’s feet.

      When people are conscious of their body language, they tend to focus on their facial expressions, body posturing and hand gestures. Now, since the feet tend to not be so rehearsed, it reveals the truth of how an attendee is feeling. When stressed or anxious, they may tap or move their feet. Or, if their body is faced towards you but their feet pointed in a different direction – that could show where their mind is truly at. If you see trade show attendees exhibiting these leg or feet symptoms, think about changing your approach or watching your own tone & body language.


  1. Smile.

    It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how much a smile can do. Smiling conveys instant congeniality, trustworthiness and approachability. Plus, it makes you feel better. When you smile, your body releases endorphins that boost mood and neuropeptides that help decrease stress. As a result, you feel more confident and comfortable, which leads to a more attractive, friendly atmosphere at your trade show booth!

Remember, all of these factors contribute to first impressions, which are critical. Research has shown that people can make a judgement about meeting someone in as fast as 7 seconds. Yes, 7 seconds.

If you feel there is room for improvement with your staff on their body language, and – for that matter – other effective trade show techniques, get ready to see a major improvement with this proven Trade Show Training.