Football is a game where every player has to do their job well in order for the team to have a chance of winning the match. Team players share in the success or failure of their efforts.
You might not like football, rugby or any team sport come to that. You might even hate sport altogether. Or perhaps you play some tennis, badminton, run or cycle. Maybe solo achievement is what you admire. The Andy Murray’s and Mo Farrah’s of this world.
But, there is a lesson that top sports achievement can teach us whether success is achieved by a team or by one person.
It’s the importance of team performance when it comes to winning.
People at the very top of solo sports like tennis or track haven’t got to where they are completely by themselves. They are all supported by a team of experts that help them get to and stay at the top.
Professional football, rugby and cricket teams have a large support network that includes managers, trainers, dieticians, doctors and sports psychologists. Top solo sports professionals will likewise have the support of specialists with similar skills.
Where is your support team?
In this article, I want to encourage you to build your own high-performance support team. And I want to show you how this team can make your life so much easier and your results, so much better regardless of the size of the company that you work for.
Members of the show organising team
If exhibiting is all new to you, I recommend that the first place you look to build your support team is with the organisers of your show.
The organisers can provide you with lots of useful information. Some things like contractor contacts, details of your shell scheme system, health and safety guidance details are related to exhibiting mechanics. But they can also help you with marketing-related items like content distribution, attendance information, and media contacts.
They are the people to talk to when you want to move your location or book a bigger space or to re-book for the next event.
Their contact network with venues, hotels, contractors and on-site service suppliers will unless you are a very seasoned exhibitor, be much bigger than yours.
Find your way around Sales; Marketing and Operations. Each department has their own areas of show-related activity to look after. Make contact and get on their radar even if you have a small stand compared to many others in the show. Your success at the show means success for the organiser too.
Your internal admin support team
Organising a stand for an exhibition or organising your own event, will generate a lot of paperwork. Generally, this will be digital. There will be booking forms for your stand and for varied services. From electrical orders to hotel rooms. It will make your life so much easier if you create and use an ordered system for filing these details right from the start.
If you have an assistant to handle this work for you, that’s great. The thing to do is to agree jointly how and where things will be kept. You both need to follow the same system. If you’re not great at admin, hand over everything to do with the event as it comes in.
If you have no assistant on your team and you are in sole charge of administration, create a folder on your PC for the event. You need to be your best teammate when it comes to admin.
Add sub-folders for stand booking information. This is where to keep the contract for the show and all payment details. Create sub-folders for all stand orders and then for the other main items that relate to the event.
These folders could be for travel and hotel arrangements, equipment hire, transport of exhibits, design (graphics could be filed here) and so on. The folders you create need to work for you. The system should allow you to find the information you need quickly and easily especially when you get to the event venue. An excellent filing system will make it easier for you to track missing orders or to clear up misunderstandings with suppliers on-site.
Design professionals are one of your greatest assets when it comes to event success. They can not only help you make your stand look great, they can ensure that it works to its full potential.
For most exhibitors, design expertise is sought for stand design and for the design of graphics both print and digital. Both sets of skills can make a massive difference to how a stand looks and how it performs.
If you are exhibiting on a shell scheme stand, I can’t stress enough how design can boost your visibility and visitor attractiveness. Take a look at this small 3m x 2m stand to see what I mean.
At first glance, this looks like some great graphics have been designed and they have but the designer looked first at how the stand was going to work during the show. The graphics were designed after this had been determined. Design is not just for the biggest stands in the show!
Stand builders and contractors
Some of the most underestimated and under-utilised event experts around are stand builders and event contractors. These are team members who can really make a difference both to the success of your event and the reduction of your stress levels.
Over the years, I have worked with, relied on and needed the expertise of some excellent individuals and their teams.
Remember that your suppliers are building or supporting shows and exhibitors nearly every week of the year. There will be few problems that they haven’t met or dealt with. They know the major venues inside and out. They will also know the plus and minus points of each one from parking restrictions to late working arrangements.
For a listing of 300 event supply businesses visit www.essa.uk.com
Your event team
Your stand or event team will be creating the first impression of your business for many attendees. Therefore you want that impression to be an excellent one. Here are some quick tips for working successfully with colleagues a trade show.
- Remember that working on an exhibition stand is usually far removed from most people’s usual day jobs
- Because of this, a thorough briefing, in advance of the show, about the objectives for the event and the products or services that are to be promoted is recommended
- Investing in some kind of exhibitor or face to face sales training might be required – this will help you protect your investment in the event
- Your team needs to consist of people that are not afraid to start conversations. You need an outgoing and friendly support team. Brilliant but grumpy colleagues should not be among your meeters and greeters
Other people who could be members of your team
Hotel team: What happens in Solihull… Sorry, wrong article. Talk to your hotel team about best booking catering rates. Look for deals that reflect the total business you bring to their hotel. If you are inviting clients to the event, their rooms should be part of your overall booking. Often there won’t be discounts on offer, and certainly not at hotels close to the venues of big events.
Look to agree favourable rates instead for dining packages or for rooms in the same hotel at a discounted rate to your company at other times of the year. This can be useful if your company has clients or meetings in that area.
Restaurant team: If your business exhibits at the same show every year, make friends with one or more of the better restaurants in the city where the event is held. If your show budget is tight, ask them to work with you by offering fixed-price menus for your team dinners.
Content Marketing team: Does your business employ the services of a PR or marketing agency? If so, get them working on producing, re-purposing or re-releasing content that will support your event participation. Events present an opportunity for what I call content convergence, a subject I’ll cover in another article. Hopefully, you get the idea already though. You use the show as a focus for content that will strengthen or bring wide attention to your brand, product or service.
Exhibitors Only: Yes, last but by no means least there is us! Apart from the many helpful and informative articles that we publish we can also provide event consultancy, training and the provision of products that will help your company stand out on a show floor or within an event space. See this page for more details.
Ken Blanchard sums it up
“None of us is as smart as all us.” The words of Ken Blanchard sum-up beautifully why investing time in getting a support team together is so important to your event and professional success. So start building your team. And, if you are currently the whole team for your business, start by seeking out freelancers who can take some of the workload away from you while at the same time providing specialist expertise that you don’t have.