Have you ever walked by a tradeshow booth and felt somewhat put off by the vibe you were getting? So much so that you just kept on walking?
That’s not a surprise. The way that people stand, move and hold their body communicates a great deal. We don’t need to hear words to get a very plain message, and often that message is “we’re not really interested in talking to you right now.”
While you can spend a few minutes Googling body language and get a ton of great information, let’s stick to specifics for a booth staffer in a busy tradeshow.
Arms crossed: indicates a defensive position. People will see you as someone who is really not all that interested in talking with you right now.
Sitting on a chair: tired and non-energetic. Therefore it will be seen as not ready to engage.
On the phone: whether you’re talking or just checking out Twitter, Facebook or whatever, this also shows the visitor that they are less important than that stupid cat video (at least that’s what they think if they bother to think).
Holding a clipboard: can often be seen as someone who is on a mission to fill out the form, and will pounce at the first moment. Visitors often avoid this person.
No eye contact: again showing a visitor that you’re not important. It also shows shyness or desire to avoid interaction.
Direct eye contact and a smile: a positive sign that most visitors will interpret as a willingness to engage.
Hands down at side: another good positive open body position which tells a visitor that you’re ready to have a conversation.
Clenched fist: seen as a negative or aggressive stance.
A visitor can make a snap judgment in just a few seconds while standing 10 or 15 feet away. They will often make a decision on visiting your booth based entirely on the body language that your staff is using. Learn to read body language, and learn to use it positively to communicate an upbeat, welcoming message to your visitors.