Reading Trade Shows Reports


ave you wondered how people work out the viability of major trade shows? How they calculate what is feasible and what is not? When it is feasible and when it is not? This is where Trade Show Reports enter the equation.

These reports are written by data analysts who forecast the future growth of the market. The information contained in the reports allows for the individualized planning of trade shows that anticipate the needs of invitees.

What information belongs in a Trade Show Report? Let us look at the following points:

Management associations coordinates (phone and address)
Location for trade shows and dates
Statistics of the show – how many square feet, how many stalls/booths, how many companies are expected
What industry segment(s) took part
Ranking of the events and shows separately and comparatively
Total market size estimate
Forecasts of market vis-à-vis high ranking products

Data corresponding to the above points will be collected with the help of questionnaires, interviews, and personal discussions. The correct interpretation of data can create a report which will serve as a guide for successfully organizing the next trade show(s).

There are many other trade show reports which cover other aspects, such as:

Analysis of key industries
Possibility of the industry to hire
Whether revenue from exhibitions will rise or fall in the current year
Global, national and regional major growth strategies
Is the cyberspace killing the tradeshows – how much does it matter
Will investment be high in the current year
What growth percentage is expected in the presented this year

Trade show reports are mostly used as guides. But many times they are also used as a follow-up measure as well. There are reports which look particularly at the profile of the customers and try to organize the data captured to draw an accurate picture of the return on investment from the past trade shows, as well as forecast the future trends.

The trade shows reports are invaluable tools to understand how customer behavior, market growth, or recession rates indicate the industries which will grow best, and the demand of products.

Reading Trade Shows Reports2021-05-26T10:45:29-05:00

If You Invite Them They Will Come


It’s undeniable that exhibitors who notify their potential customers of their presence at trade shows experience greater success. Not only is their booth crowded with pre-qualified buyers, exhibitors are able to build on previous sales efforts in an environment that is conducive to deal-making:
Neutral turf:That’s one of the most under-recognized benefits of a trade show space; that it’s neutral territory where both parties can speak and deal openly and comfortably.

An exciting atmosphere: Don’t squander the excitement of the trade show atmosphere by performing the introduction during the show. Make the introduction long before the show begins and let the electric atmosphere of the trade show floor lend itself to closing to the deal instead.
Face-to-face relationship building: While it’s definitely possible to make a sale using the "Send" key, it’s more likely that you’ll begin building a relationship with a hand shake. Meaningful professional relationships create success for those who nurture them. Referrals, repeat business or recommendations are all invaluable assets of maintaining and developing meaningful professional relationships. How better to kick one off than with a hand shake and a personal introduction?

Below are a few tips that can help you create your own effective invites:

Email: Do not put your subject line in ALL CAPS. It’s part of a long list of spam filter magnets.

Direct Mail: Sounds simple, but always address your invite to a specific person. It always helps to follow up by phone right before the show to remind them that you’ll be there and potentially set-up an appointment to speak during the show or at an ancillary event.

Social Media: Connect with your invitees prior to the show and post information about products or services you’ll be featuring in your booth. Your posts will continuously show up in their feed (which gives you top of the mind awareness) and you’ll create excitement about your booth and the show itself.

If You Invite Them They Will Come2021-05-26T10:45:29-05:00

How to Build A Trade Show Social Media Strategy – IRL


It’s not enough to have various staff members tweeting here and there, or posting to your Facebook page sporadically. In order to maximize the benefits of social media, you need a definitive strategy.
Why? Mandy Stahl, community manager, American Society of Association Executives, who spoke at Expo Next, said a strategy helps you ensure that you give your audience what they want and keep them engaged with you. It also should prevent you from "selling" via social media. This is a big no-no in the social sphere. Followers will be turned off by the hard sell.
A well-planned strategy will enable you to make use of all of your resources, and it can help you plan ahead and create unique experiences in each platform.
On the flip side, operating without a set strategy can create a disjointed and ineffective social-media effort.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Stahl suggests that, in developing your social media strategy, you ask yourself the following:

1. WHAT formats are we going to use? (Blogs, video, charts.)
2. WHY does anyone care about what we’re doing?
3. WHY does this provide business value?
4. HOW are we going to deliver the message? (What are the best social media platforms for reaching your audience?)
5. HOW should we say it? (Tone of voice.)
6. WHERE will we get the content?
7. WHERE can we syndicate the content?
8. WHEN will content be published?
9. WHEN will it need to be updated (and how frequently)? Set expectations. (For example, Twitter: one to two tweets per week starting six months in advance of your event, and three to four tweets per week from two months out.)
10. WHO is responsible for the content? Assign content to the appropriate parties, and assign someone to oversee the efforts.
11. WHO will maintain it over time?

Where Will We Get the Content?

An integral part of your strategy will be in determining what content you are going to post and where your social media team will get the content. Stahl suggests these areas are among the most valuable content sources:

1. Editorial: Magazine and online news.
2. Marketing and public relations: Printed pieces, website, and industry and event news.
3. Educational/learning: Session tracks and speakers.
4. Show-logistics updates.
More Hands-On Tips
1. Tweet each new speaker you book, using the speaker’s or his/her company’s Twitter handle to alert them of the tweet; Encourage all speakers to retweet your announcement (most will anyway). Also, tag them on Facebook mentions and via other social media channels you use. This can significantly expand your reach and expose your speakers’ followers to your show.
2. Tweet every exhibitor and sponsor you sign on, using the company’s Twitter handle. Same idea as above.
3. Organize Facebook chats or Twitter chats with select speakers; promote them to your audience via social media and e-mail alerts. Ensure that the chats include information your audience will find valuable.
4. Conduct Q&As with select speakers, providing information and teasing (soft-sell) the upcoming session and event. Publish it online and promote it via social media channels.
5. Conduct Q&As with select exhibitors and sponsors about emerging products and trends among their clients. Be sure these are not sales pitches.
6. Encourage your speakers and vendors to use their social media channels to promote their participation in your events. Provide them with event hashtags (e.g., #growyourshow) and industry hashtags (e.g., #expochat), as well as the event URL. Tell them how to shorten links (or better yet, provide shortened links).
7. Determine the leading tweeters (or people on other platforms) and bloggers in your industry and invite them as guests to your show to tweet and/or blog about it.

How to Build A Trade Show Social Media Strategy – IRL2021-05-26T10:45:30-05:00

Getting The Most From Attending A Trade Show


Trade shows can be an excellent opportunity for you and your business, whether you are an entrepreneur or you’re representing the company you work for. Thousands of people set up trade show booths and trade show displays across the country at a huge variety of industry events. However, many people don’t know how to take advantage of the opportunities a trade show offers. Some plan on simply attending, setting up their trade show booth, and then staying there all day hoping to attract new business. Manning a trade show display is only part of the reason you should be attending a trade show. The other vendors at a trade show can provide you with a wealth of new information and contacts in your industry; all accessible in the same room on the same day—this is the unparalleled attraction of a trade show for your business.

If you plan to attend a trade show, make sure you are not the only person there representing your company, even if you are a small business owner with few employees or a sole proprietorship. You will need at least one person to staff your trade show booth, and another to walk the floor taking in the other trade show displays. If necessary, get your spouse or a good friend to come with you and give them a crash course on how to handle your trade show booth while you check out the other vendors – and only do so when it is slow so you don’t miss important business opportunities. When you make reservations for the hotel you will stay at during the show, try to find a room as close as possible to the actual location—preferably within walking distance. That way, you won’t have to bring anything with you to the venue other than the materials for your trade show display.

Before you attend a trade show, go over the list of vendors who plan to put up trade show booths. Make lists of the vendors you must see, the vendors you would like to see, and those you can live without seeing. You may even be able to schedule appointments with your top priority vendors. Research the companies and determine ahead of time what you would like to find out from each trade show display and what your goals are regarding each vendor: are they competition, or a potential contact? If they are a potential contact, how would they specifically benefit your company? Have questions ready to ask vendors to save yourself time walking the floor. Another good timesaving strategy is to obtain a map and a directory of the trade show when you arrive on location, before the show begins. Use the map to plan your route, and check your prioritized list of vendors against the directory to find out whether any vendors have been added or dropped out.

During the trade show, be active in your quest for information. Don’t feel bad about passing by trade show booths that don’t interest you. Like you, they are attending the trade show to generate new business, and they don’t want to waste time talking to someone who isn’t a potential customer. Visit your targeted trade show displays, engage in a dialogue with the vendors, and ask questions. If the trade show booth offers handouts, samples or other materials, take only those you actually want to find out more about. It can be difficult to tote a loose stack of glossy brochures, catalogues, and bulky product samples around a busy trade show floor. If possible, arm yourself with an empty briefcase or duffel bag to stow materials. Use your time wisely to gather intelligence on your competition and make new industry contacts that will benefit your company.

When the trade show ends, especially if it is a multiple-day event, take the time to make notes and organize the materials you gathered before you leave the event. If you need to mail reports, brochures or other materials to your colleagues, prepare the mailings right away while “who gets what” is still fresh in your mind. Make sure to store your trade show display safely so nothing is damaged and you can find everything you need the following day. When you return from the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you have made—and start preparing for next year’s trade show

Getting The Most From Attending A Trade Show2021-05-26T10:45:30-05:00

Determining the Value of Potential Advertising Channels Online


It’s important for any business to have an online advertising presence. Whether it’s Google AdWords, digital newsletters or industry websites, online visibility is a must in today’s business climate. It’s possible for any-sized business to gain online exposure without breaking the bank through properly evaluating advertising channels and a little Google Ad Words home work.

When you’re evaluating the quality of online advertising channels/ newsletters:

Get information on subscriber/ visitor demographics. In other words, who is visiting the website or receiving the online newsletter? Make sure the readership is in line with your customer base.
How many people visit the site each month? This number will help you determine your cost-per-contact. Just divide the amount you’re spending by the total readership.

Clicks and Click-through Rate: If you’re looking at buying banner space on an online newsletter or digital publication, getting clicks and click-through rate information will help you determine how engaged the readers are with that particular publication. What good is a monstrous readership number if most of them aren’t clicking on anything in the online newsletter?
Do you receive exclusive placement? Most banner ads are shared real estate, which means your ad will be one in a rotation. That effects the number of times your will be served to (or seen by) the readership. That will affect your cost-per-contact number.

Reevaluate cost.Take the total readership and divide it by the number of rotations the space will go through before your ad appears. For example, if your ad is one of ten ads sharing a single space and the website/ online newsletter has a readership of 10,000 your ad will be seen by 1,000 readers instead of the whole 10,000. That new number will dramatically affect your cost-per-contact.

So, what’s an acceptable cost-per-contact rate? It really depends. I know, I know; that answer seems like a cop-out. It’s not. If you’ve found a medium that effectively targets your customer base (especially if you have a product that serves a niche market) and if it reaches the people within that market that can make or influence purchasing decisions, a high cost-per-contact may be absolutely worth it. That’s why investing a little time in qualifying potential adverting channels is worth a try.

Next week’s post will cover information on Google AdWords and how to customize a campaign that delivers results and makes the most of your investment. To get a head-start, check out Google AdWords’ extremely helpful FAQ section at

Determining the Value of Potential Advertising Channels Online2021-05-26T10:45:30-05:00

When should you set your trade show objectives? And who should be doing it?


It’s well established how to best set trade show objectives and why it’s important (see here, here, and here).

But who should be doing it? And when? That depends on how compartmentalized the sales and marketing departments are within your organization.

If marketing and sales are clearly defined departments, align them by fostering communication between the two before and after each trade show.

Hugh MacFarlane of MathMarketing conducted a study that revealed that businesses whose sales and marketing departments are aligned close 38% more business than their non-aligned counterparts. Sometimes achieving alignment means overcoming a cultural rift that can develop between these two groups. That divide is usually based in a disagreement on just which department is the driving force behind customer acquisition. Shawn Naggiar of Act-On Software, adeptly describes the phenomenon in this blog post.

Bridging this gap is important, especially when it comes to setting trade show objectives and goals. Including a sales liaison in exhibit planning meetings or surveying booth staff upon their return from trade shows are just a couple ways to foster communication that will ensure you’re establishing realistic goals. To see more ways to overcome this divide and how it applies to other areas in your business, check out Harvard Business Review’s End the War Between Sales and Marketing.

If your company does not have a formally established a marketing department, set your objectives when you coordinate your company’s annual trade show schedule.

For most small to medium-sized companies, managers and members of the sales team come up with promotional ideas and are most likely responsible for the planning and execution of the organization’s participation in trade shows. When this is the case, it can be tough to establish a trade show objective when you’re the individual responsible for meeting sales goals and coordinating the company’s participation in eight to ten trade shows a year.

If you wear several hats within your company, just keep your trade show hat on a little longer at the beginning of the year. The benefits of setting your trade show objectives at the same time you’re coordinating your company’s trade show schedule are:

  • Maximizing your trade show investment: The SMART method of goal-setting gives you a solid way to track and measure success, identify and refine best practices and ditch the elements that don’t contribute to revenue generation. This blog post by Katy Roberts of JobServe Events provides an outline that takes the guesswork out of creating SMART trade show objectives and goals.
  • Ensuring you’ve purchased the right amount of booth space: If your objective in participating in a 2,000+ booth trade show is to gain exposure, you may not accomplish that with a standard 10′ x 10′ space. Conversely, if your goal is to build a database, reserve a 10′ x 10′ space and concentrate on creating a powerhouse contest or giveaway. Establishing early-on what your booth space should accomplish in each show will ensure you never spend money on wasted space.
  • Cutting costs: Most trade shows partner with general service contractors who offer early-bird discounts on things like furnishings, carpet and other booth amenities. Getting organized early means taking advantage of these discounts in addition to knowing exactly which proprietary items you’ll need in the booth. This will help eliminate last-minute shipping, printing and production expenses.

Although some objectives may change slightly by the time the show actually takes place, it’s easier to make adjustments to your goal than to attempt to formulate it weeks before the show in the midst of show-related deadlines.

Other things to consider when setting your trade show objectives and goals are the format of the trade show, the focus of the show (largely educational vs. sales-oriented) and where that focus positions attendees in the purchasing process

When should you set your trade show objectives? And who should be doing it?2021-05-26T10:45:31-05:00

Freebies Aren’t Free-How to Take a Questionable Trade Show Expense and Make Them Work for You


Freebies. Promotional items. Tchotchkes. Whatever the handle, they’re a hotly contested subject in the trade show industry.

Freebies that are truly free to anyone walking the floor can cost exhibitors a lot of money and provide little return. That’s why, as trade show organizers and producers, we have a policy in place to discourage attendees from trick-or-treating. But for other trade shows and conferences that don’t have something similar in place, use the tips below to turn what can be a waste of money into a tool to gather more business cards and build your customer base:

Invest in giveaway items that have staying power (pens, jump drives or anything that’s particularly useful for your target customer base).

Don’t leave them at the front of your booth where they can be swiped by anyone. If the person grabbing twenty pens from your booth space isn’t a qualified prospect, you’re throwing money allocated to your trade show budget down the drain. The next time an unqualified prospect takes handfuls of giveaways, visualize that amount as improvements to your display, more money towards entertaining customers or a larger trade show advertising budget.

“Good point. I moved them to the back of my booth. Now what?” They’re already drawing attendees into your space where you can ask questions, identify their needs and qualify their purchasing authority. Continue to make those items work for you. If you have a potential customer in your booth, ask them to do something in order to receive a freebie; watch a product demo, fill out a short survey, anything that provides insight into how you can communicate with and develop that customer.

Freebies Aren’t Free-How to Take a Questionable Trade Show Expense and Make Them Work for You2021-05-26T10:45:31-05:00

Conference or Exposition: Why Show Formats Should Influence Setting Trade Show Objectives


For the most part, trade shows break down into two formats:

  • Conference series with a trade show attached
  • Trade shows/ expositions

How the show format factors into setting your trade show objectives:

Trade shows and expositions are focused solely on trade, the debut of new products and facilitating networking between industry professionals. Since attendees of these types of shows do not observe a conference schedule, your booth staff will have time to focus on qualifying serious buyers.

When it comes to exhibiting in trade shows that are attached to conferences, knowing the conference schedule and how it affects attendee traffic will help you set realistic objectives. Your goals will be based on educated projections of how much face time you’ll actually be spending with attendees.

What to consider if you’re exhibiting in a trade show/ exposition:

Are you qualifying attendees based on what stage of the buying process they’re in? According to Exhibit Surveys, 49% of tradeshow attendees surveyed planned to purchase in the next 12 months and 66% rate their booth visits as very or extremely valuable in comparing and evaluating offerings for future purchases.

Both of these statistics confirm that attendees of trade shows and expositions are actively engaged in one part or another of the buying process. But as an exhibitor, do you know which stage?

Potential customers who are in different stages require different types of information to progress through the initial stages and reach a buying decision. Discovering which stages they’re in and tailoring your sales message to them is the key to establishing a relationship early and winning the bid.

How to sell to customers in each stage:

According to A Guide to Understanding the B2B Buying Process, by the Inbound Sales Network:

“Communication during the ‘Awareness Stages’ should introduce your prospects to industry trends that point to developing issues and the business value of adopting change. This early consultative approach is crucial: Forrester Research reports that 65% of vendors that create the buying vision during this early stage get the deal.

Communication during the ‘Evaluation Stages’ should:

  • Find your unique point of view which can challenge prospect’s assumptions and create more demand
  • Create clear points of differentiation between you and your key competitors

Communication during the ‘Decision Stages’ should highlight customer success stories and demonstrate how your customers have achieved successful project implementation and business value.”

What to consider if you’re exhibiting in a trade show attached to a conference:

Is the exhibit hall completely closed to attendees during conference sessions? If so, take the opportunity to find exhibiting companies with whom you can do business and set appointments with them, outside of the venue, during the time the show floor is closed. This way, you’re networking and gaining exposure with qualified leads while attendees are unavailable.

Does the trade show portion of the conference series remain open for attendees who have not paid to attend conferences? This is the most common type of conference series with a trade show attached. Although the show floor is not closed completely, attendee traffic tends to slow while conferences are in session.

When traffic slows, this is a prime opportunity to connect with other exhibitors who represent potential customers or partners. Again, knowing how to maximize these periods where, as an exhibitor, you’re competing with conference tracks for the attention of attendees is crucial to maximizing your investment. By networking with exhibitors, you’re interacting with potential customers regardless of the effect the conference has on the traffic flow.

Knowing the conference schedule will also help you plan the best times to conduct giveaways, announcements, product demonstrations and more. This way, promotions designed to draw a lot of traffic to your booth can happen when the conference schedule allows the maximum amount of attendees on the floor.

Conference or Exposition: Why Show Formats Should Influence Setting Trade Show Objectives2021-05-26T10:45:32-05:00

The Business Of Leadership


Introduction to Leadership

Napoleon once said: “One bad general does better than two good ones.” It takes a
moment for the sense of this to register, but it is the same as our modern saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Having one set of instructions, even if they are flawed, is preferable to having two sets of perfect directions that, when enacted together without reference to each other, cause havoc.

This is the principle of leadership in a nutshell. It is all about maintaining focus and creating positive outcomes.

The same can be applied to individuals who strive to become leaders. There needs to be focus and determination. Advice can be given, but does not have to be heeded. History is full of leaders whose beginnings were disastrous, and had they listened to the naysayers of this world, the world would be a poorer place today.

Leadership can be learned. Some people are certainly born with leadership skills, but this is not a prerequisite for becoming a leader. More important is dedication to the art of leadership. Leadership involves understanding how to inspire, influence and control how people behave. It is not a simple matter of shouting, or having a deep and booming voice; or being great in physical stature; Gandhi possessed none of these attributes, but managed to lead a nation and inspire millions around the world.

Sometimes, leadership may be no more than having a poignant message for a receptive audience at an opportune moment. Of itself, leadership is neither good nor bad; the world has known more than its fair share of evil and charismatic dictators.

In the world of business, the perception of leadership has changed from its early days when it largely mirrored the military model of leadership from the top down, with powerful individuals dominating large groups of less powerful people.

Nowadays, leadership in business is far more knowledge-driven. The lowliest employee may end up effectively leading the direction of a vast corporation through his or her innovative ideas. Anyone with critical knowledge can show leadership. This is known as thought-leadership. In other situations, leadership can be about taking a stand for what you believe in, and trying to convince people to think and act differently.

Leadership has been variously described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”; “creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen”; “the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of organizational or societal goals”; and “the capacity of leaders to listen and observe, to use their expertise as a starting point to encourage dialogue between all levels of decision-making, to establish processes and transparency in decision-making, to articulate their own values and visions clearly but not impose them. Leadership is about setting and not just reacting to agendas, identifying problems, and initiating change that makes for substantive improvement rather than managing change”.

There is truth to all of the above definitions, but they all apply to the ideals of leadership. So what of leadership gone awry?



Understanding the Dark Side

The dark side of any individual when allowed to go unchecked can create a rigid and dysfunctional personality that stifles creativity, and taints or ruins relationships. When
such characteristics are given reign in a leader, a self-righteous and bombastic person can
result, who alienates the very people they are meant to inspire.

The Compulsive Leader

Compulsive leaders feel like they have to do everything themselves. They try to manage every aspect of their business, often refusing to delegate, and cannot resist having their say on everything. As they lack trust in others, they cannot let anyone else take responsibility, therefore they restrict personal growth in their team.

Compulsive leaders have many other traits. They are perfectionists who must follow highly rigid and systematized daily routines, and are concerned with status. Thus they strive to impress their superiors with their diligence and efficiency and continually look for reassurance and approval. This can lead to them becoming workaholics, and their team is viewed as failing if they don’t keep pace. Spontaneity is not encouraged as this bucks the routine.

Despite this appearance of total control, such leaders can be fit to explode on the inside, and this can be the result of a childhood environment where unrealistic expectations were placed on them. Their attempts to keep control are linked to their attempts to suppress anger and resentment, which makes them susceptible to outbursts of temper if they perceive they are losing their grip.

The Narcissistic Leader

Narcissistic leaders are focused on themselves. Life and the world revolve around them, and they must be at the center of all that is happening. Whilst they exaggerate their own merits, they will try to ignore the merits of others, or seek to devalue them, because other people’s accomplishments are seen as a threat to their own standing. The worst type of narcissistic leader cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement, and
avoid their self-delusions and fantasies being undermined by surrounding themselves with sycophants.

Where possible, they will attempt to use the merits of others for their own advancement, and think nothing of stepping on people to get ahead. Their own feeling of self-importance means they are unable to empathize with those in their team, because they cannot feel any connection. Their only focus is on receiving plaudits that further bolster their sense of greatness. Such an attitude is often the result of a deep-seated inferiority complex, and thus no matter how much they are achieving, they will never feel it is enough.

Some narcissistic leaders take on a sidekick, but this person is expected to toe the line at all times, and serves only to reflect glory onto them and loudly approve of all that they do. Clever sidekicks can subtly manipulate the leader into focusing on the operational outcome of their plans, rather than just their own self-aggrandizement. Ultimately, this
type of leader can be very successful if their vision is strong and they get the organization to identify with them and think like they do. Such productive narcissists have more
perspective, and can step back and even laugh at their own irrational needs.




The Paranoid Leader

Paranoid leaders are exactly as they sound: paranoid that other people are better than they are, and thus they view even the mildest criticism as devastating. They are liable to overreact if they sense they are being attacked, especially in front of other people. This can manifest itself in open hostility.

This attitude is the result of an inferiority complex that perceives even the most constructive criticism in the wrong way. The paranoid leader will be guarded in their dealings with other people because they do not want to reveal too much of themselves in case they display their weaknesses and are attacked or undermined. They may be scared that their position is undeserved, therefore can be deeply suspicious of colleagues who may steal their limelight or perhaps challenge for their position.

This is not always a wholly negative trait, however. A healthy dose of paranoia can be key to success in business, because it helps keep leaders on their toes, always aware of opportunities not to be missed. It is the opposite end of the spectrum to being
complacent, and can make for a very successful venture.

The Codependent Leader

Co-dependent leaders do not enjoy taking the lead, and instead seek to copy what others have done or are doing. They avoid confrontation and would rather cover up problems than face them head-on. Planning ahead is not their forte. They tend instead to react to whatever comes their way, rather than acting to alter outcomes or achieve goals.

Codependent leaders, therefore, are not leaders at all. They are reactionary and have the habit of keeping important information to themselves because they are not prepared to act upon it. This can clearly lead to poor outcomes because all the pertinent facts are not known to those below the leader who may be charged with making decisions.

This type of leader avoids confrontation and is thus liable to accept a greater workload for themselves rather than respond negatively to any request. They are also prone to accepting the blame for situations they have not caused.

The Passive-Aggressive Leader

Passive-aggressive leaders feel like they need to control everything, and when they can’t they cause problems for those who are in control. However, they are sneaky in their ploys, and are very difficult to catch out. Their main characteristics are that they can be stubborn, purposely forgetful, intentionally inefficient, complaining (behind close doors), and they parry demands put on them through procrastination.

Typically, if they feel they are not firmly in the driving seat, they will jump out and puncture the tires when no one is looking, then feign horror and pretend to search around for a tire iron.

This type of leader has two speeds: full speed ahead and stopped. When situations do not go their way, they will offer their full support for whatever has been decided, then gossip and back stab, willfully cause delays, and generally create upset. When confronted, they claim to have been misinterpreted. Passive aggressive leader are often chronically late for appointments, using any excuse to dominate and regain some control of the situation.

Dealing with passive-aggressive leaders is thus a draining and frustrating affair that saps energy. They are not averse to short outbursts of sadness or anger to regain some control, but are ultimately fearful of success since it leads to higher expectations.

How to Lead and Influence People

Leading people has nothing to do with managing them. Too many managers are trying to micro-manage their staff, all the while forgetting to lead them effectively.

If you want to become a strong leader you need to lead by example. This means you have to show your team that you are perfectly capable to set examples. By doing so you will earn their respect and create lifelong devotees who would move mountains to please you.

Conversely, a manager who hides behind his office door while commanding staff isn't going to gain much respect in the work place.

Ultimately the success of any business venture lies in the hands of its employees and NOT the managers. A manager's responsibility is to organize and manage business systems, systems that will see to the successful finalization of projects.

If your staff are unhappy it will soon show in their lack of productivity. This will influence your bottom line. Chances are customer complaints will start to amass and office gossip will run hot. This is counterproductive to running a well oiled machine – your business.

It's All About Relationships

No organization can function for very long without the co-operation of its employees. Unfortunately, the necessity in any organization is that there are various levels of status within the team, and this can lead to conflicts if not managed properly.

The effective leader has to realize that the team under them is there because they have to be. Most employees work to earn money, not because they enjoy the daily grind of a

For this reason, there must be an effort to build healthy relationships, or life in the workplace can become untenable for everyone, and productivity will decline.

Leaders need to make their workplace society function positively, with co-operation and respect. In this way everyone is working for the common good and towards a common purpose. This demands that effective relationships are built upon an understanding of each other’s needs. It is no different to how things should be in the home; no personal
relationship will last very long if there is a sense that one or both parties are being selfish.

The most effective way to understand how other people are feeling is to listen to what they have to say. This must be done without judging, and not as though you are being forced to do so by some higher authority. Very often, teams will have the same goals as their leaders, but may just want to know that they are not seen as automatons that have no creative input.

Quality workplace relationships make people feel happy. One of the major reasons why employees move on from a company is because of relationship clashes with leaders or other colleagues.

Leaders should also make sure that they create the circumstances for understanding within their team, and this means asking questions. Assuming that your team will simply pipe up and express their feelings is not enough; many people will not feel it is their place to speak up unless they are specifically asked to do so.

Listening should be done attentively, not glancing at your watch every couple of minutes or trying not to look bored. This means you listen without interrupting or fidgeting, and with the correct expression. Your expression, by the way, should be genuine or you will be found out very quickly and the situation will become worse than had you not asked in the first place.


A great way to foster healthy relationships with your team is by meeting them in a more social environment on regular occasions. Some companies choose to send their staff to regular golfing outings while others prefer to host a monthly BBQ or weekend trips.

Regardless what you end up choosing, the key lies in giving your team a chance to connect away from the daily grind.

Building effective relationships means that neither party must make any assumptions. As a leader, you cannot expect people to understand exactly what we want and why you
want it. Sometimes it is this lack of comprehension that causes problems. As much as you must trust your team members to have intelligence, if they are not party to the goals you are working towards they can become resistant. As far as possible, your team should be conversant with your goals and how their actions are contributing to their successful outcome. Humans are inquisitive and function better when not kept in the dark.

Respect is the key ingredient of any good relationship, and this means respect for yourself as well as others. Genuinely listening and understanding are the ways in which you show that you respect the person you are talking to. Quickly judging based on preconceived ideas or prejudice is the opposite of having respect. Bear in mind that not everyone will respond in 100% perfect fashion to all that occurs in the workplace. Although it is not the leader’s job to be a permanent shoulder to cry on, it is important to accept that your team is made up of individuals whose lives may not be as perfect as their coffee-break banter might lead you to believe.

Whilst creating a healthy working relationship is a crucial goal, the smart leader will always bear in mind that conflict is inevitable and must be managed, rather than ignored for the sake of apparent peace.

Relationships can never improve unless problems are identified and confronted. Differences between people are inevitable, and hearing them aired can lead to some very useful resolutions that produce ideas beyond the expected. The alternative is highly detrimental: to let problems fester and build, and ruin the atmosphere in a workplace, if not productivity levels.

Keys for success in working relationships:

1. One party at least should value the relationship – This may start off as a one-way street, but this can lead to a meeting of minds later on.

2. Listen effectively, without judging – Listening in this way will promote mutual understanding and mutual respect.

3. Have informal chats – Chatting over a coffee can encourage a more frank exchange of views than meeting officially with a desk between you.

4. Create an open culture – Your team should know they can speak freely, no matter if that is to express happiness, joy, contentment, anger, irritation, sadness or fear. Negative feelings that are hoarded cause significant problems.

Changing Mindsets by Empowering Others

Leaders must take responsibility for their team’s performance, which means leaders must be happy that the direction of their team is one which the leader thinks is best. Although it is useful to have creative sessions with team members to bat around a few ideas, the overarching goals that the team must fulfill are most often set by the leader, or some authority above the leader.

The challenge is therefore to get the team “onside” with the given aims, even when some team members may wholeheartedly disagree with them, or baulk at the idea that these have been imposed on them from above.


Despite the accepted hierarchy of any workplace, for a team to work most efficiently, its members – especially higher level ones – may want to feel they are contributing more then the spade work; they may like to feel that they have chosen where some of the plots should be dug.

This presents a challenge for the leader who cannot just let his or her subordinates have free play. The team must be made to feel involved and motivated. Or perhaps the situation is worse, and your team is beginning to show a little disobedience. How then to provoke a positive response in them?

The answer is by empowering your team, as far as possible. Short of handing over the reigns and heading off home, the motivational leader must be able to create a sense that their team is actively involved in the process and contributing in a real sense to the overall outcome of the project. This can involve learning how to make your suggestions appeal to them. This may mean you solicit their opinions and take the best ideas on board. Or you may have to convince them that your goals are shared and that their
futures are tied to your overall success. It may be a simple matter of making an employee understand that their job will be safer if they perform well; reminding them that they are working for themselves and their family, and not just for a company.

However, empowering others does not just mean employing tactics that persuade other people to your own opinion or goals. It can also mean demonstrating leadership qualities that inspire others to act at their very best, no matter what is asked of them. Such leadership qualities would be most in evidence in the armed services, where the end result of potentially being killed is rarely going to elicit a whoop and a cheer. Soldiers are empowered to greatness by the examples set by their commanding officers.

Sometimes, it is just a matter of being an admirable and inspirational human being. Of course, some are born with more of these qualities than others, but we can all strive to lead by example, so that others will feel empowered to make great things happen.


Getting the Most from Your Team

Start right

When a staff member joins your team, give them time to become fully acclimatized to your company. The sooner they settle, the sooner you can start to reap rewards. It will help if you complete an induction and a detailed contract of employment, which outlines what you expect from them.

Create expectations

Strange as it may sound, some employees do not have a clear sense of their role. Such confusion can cause arguments, or even duplication or omission of tasks. This is clearly bad for productivity. Your team needs to know their job and responsibilities; a job description will help.

Stand back

Part of empowering your team is trusting they can get on with the job without you peering over their shoulder every fifteen minutes. If you want staff members to flourish, they should be allowed to get on with their job. Of course you need to keep a watchful eye, but there is a happy medium where they know you trust them. Your team is more likely to over-perform if they feel good about what they are doing. Motivated staff work harder. Money is often not the prime motivator. They want to know what is expected of them, and

then they want to be allowed to get on with it. This is far easier if the right people are employed in the first place.


Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization, regardless of its size. That may mean face-to-face talks or pinning notes on a board.

Provided your team knows what’s going on, you are being an effective leader. Try asking your team how they prefer communication to happen. This helps to empower them.

Keep communicating

It can happen that there is a sincere intention to improve communication, and it all starts off positively: team briefs, newsletters; intranets, etc. Then things start to slow down. As a leader you should not let this happen. It may mean important information is not imparted, or you are viewed as not bothered how the team is getting on.

Be honest

Communication is not much use if your team believes it is not getting the whole picture. Bad news is still news, and you must trust that your people are mature enough to handle it, or you may find they are insulted and no longer believe what you tell them. This does not mean shouting every piece of office gossip from the rooftop, but it does mean keeping your team abreast of all that is pertinent to them.


Effective consultation is a vital tool to improving performance. Your team members have specific roles. Your collective overview may be more knowledgeable, but there may be team members whose specific knowledge is greater than yours. Asking for their opinion is not weak; it is sensible, and it serves to empower that team member. The more facts you have, the easier and more effective your decision-making will be. Getting the most out of your team is greatly aided by effective consultation and it demonstrates respect from you to them.


Training is a boon if it is relevant to the team members receiving it. You are guaranteed to alienate staff by sending them on courses that bear no relevance to their role. Training for the sake of training is counter-productive. You need to ask: Will the training help the business? Is it geared to the priorities of the business? Are the right individuals and teams within your organization receiving the training? How can I quantify any improvement?

Training must be organized and delivered effectively or you should not commit to it in the first place. Ensure that the agreed priorities are met. Once this happens, think how you

can help individual team members in their personal development. This can be a real aid towards improving performance and motivation.

When the training is over, try and evaluate its worth. Where do you expect to see improvements? If you evaluate effectively, you can judge where further investment in training will pay off.

Organizations of all sizes invest in their people through effective training. Your team is your most valuable asset and their performance has an impact on the company’s bottom line.

Staff Appraisals

All companies should review performance of their staff on a regular basis. When staff appraisals do not work, it is for the following reasons: There is no system in place for undertaking reviews on a regular basis; there is no paper trail to follow so people don’t know where to start; they are used purely to air grievances so become a negative thing; the appraiser isn’t trained to appraise so the results are unreliable; there is no follow-up so improvements are missed.

10 Ways to Be a Better Leader

1. Ask to be judged

Finding out what others think of your leadership skills can really help you change for the better. Sometimes leaders can be so wrapped up in appraising others, that they do not seek appraisal from below, only from their own superiors. Your team is the best source of feedback, because they are on the receiving end of your “skills” every day. Honesty should be encouraged, but bear in mind that it may only be anonymous feedback that holds the truth if your team believes you are going to use it against them, or become
defensive about what they say. If you have created a trusting and open environment, this should not be a problem.

2. Don’t abuse your power

If people are questioning why certain things are done, or the logic of decisions, never pull rank in response. Your team should feel empowered, if only by you taking the time to explain the rationale for any decisions that have been made. Your team must be on your side. This will not happen by you telling them that the decision is the right one because you are the boss. Your team may not agree, but they should know why a situation is how it is.

3. Your team is intelligent and can be trusted

Your team should be allowed to take actions and make decisions. Trust is a vital component of leadership skills. If you can’t trust people to do their jobs, then you have the wrong people, or you’re not managing them properly. Let them do what they are there to do without peering over their shoulders every fifteen minutes, asking what they are doing with their time.

4. Listen

Truly listening to your team is one of the greatest leadership skills. Good listeners come across as genuinely interested, empathetic, and concerned to find out what’s going on.

All great leaders have great communication skills. Unhappy team members can only exist where their problems have not been aired. Create an environment where problems can be discussed so that solutions can be found.

5. Stop being an expert on everything

Leaders often achieve their positions by being proficient in a certain area, and thus will have an opinion on how to fix problems. They believe it’s better to tell someone what to do, or even to do it themselves, than give their team the opportunity to develop their own solutions, and therefore exercise their creativity.

6. Be constructive

Negativity breeds negativity. How you communicate has a profound effect on your team, as a whole and individually. Criticisms will always need to be made by leaders, but try to make them constructive, and deliver them without emotional attachment.

7. Judge your success by your team’s

The true success of a leader can be measured by the success of the people who work for them. You cannot be a successful leader of a failing team, just as you cannot be a successful general of a defeated army. Your focus should always be on building your team’s skills and removing obstacles in their way.

8. Don’t be a narcissist

Nothing is more annoying for team members than leaders who make their decisions based on how good it will make them appear to their superiors. A key leadership skill is integrity. Integrity is about doing the right thing, and allowing praise where praise is due, even if that is not at your door.

9. Have a sense of humor

People work better when they are enjoying themselves. The work itself may be dull, but the environment doe not have to be. Stifling fun also means stifling creativity. Team members love it when the leader joins in and has fun. This does not have to create a flippant atmosphere; on the contrary, this is a tenet of team-building.

10. Don’t be too distant

Without revealing you innermost secrets, it is possible for leaders to show a more human side. If mutual respect exists, this should not be seen as vulnerability, rather a sign that you are a sentient human being, just as your team members are. Only when your team gets to know the real you will the true foundations of good leadership be properly established – trust and respect.


Sun Tzu, writing in the 5th century BC in The Art of War said: “What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men is foreknowledge.”

This is an as-yet-unmentioned attribute of a great leader – the ability to predict. No matter how many managerial and people skills the business leader possesses, they will all be jeopardized if he or she cannot anticipate the effects of the plans they put in place, and the actions they take. In this respect, it may be that their age and experience must take precedence over consultation with the “troops”, who may little understand the
ramifications of what is about to take place.

This is where the genuine leader comes to the fore and truly claims their title. When all around are scratching their heads and reluctant to make a decision, old-style leadership must come into play. The modern leader may utterly fail in this scenario for lack of guts and an over-familiarity with their team.

As Sun Tzu says: “Some leaders are generous but cannot use their men. They love their men but cannot command them… These leaders create spoiled children. Their soldiers are useless.”

The Business Of Leadership2021-05-26T10:45:32-05:00

Booth Staff for Your Next Trade Show: The Value of Technical Experts


When most people think of trade show booth staff, they picture a gaggle of first-rate sales reps. They’re talkative, friendly, knowledgeable professionals who will connect with leads, discover the challenges they face in their businesses and mold product-centric solutions.

There’s no doubt that these folks should be in the booth. But they shouldn’t be alone.

The salesperson described above employs a particular set of techniques that have been successful in the past, but are becoming obsolete in modern business to business sales. These techniques were effective on purchasers who understood the problems their business faced, but didn’t know how to fix them. With endless amounts of product information available online, that’s not the case anymore.

This Corporate Executive Board study found that most B2B customers have completed 60% of a purchasing decision before they open dialogue with potential suppliers.

By that time, most customer have reached an understanding of their problem and, through research, have arrived at a solution. When they do begin speaking with a suppliers, they’re looking for the organization who can most efficiently and cost-effectively implement that solution.

This is where the importance of including technicians-turned-salespeople in your booth is evident. Legitimate purchasers are more likely to have detailed questions and these technicians-turned-salespeople are in a unique position to provide specialized information that paints a picture of fulfillment for potential clients’ existing, self-arrived solution.

Employing a focus on technical information shouldn’t stop at your booth. A study by Gelb Consulting shows that 56% of oil and gas trade show attendees claim that purchasing decisions resulted from various factors, including the trade show booth. It makes sense if they’re among the 60% referred to above. Including technical sections on your website or publishing white papers in industry publications ensures that the information provided by the technical expert manning your trade show booth is consistent across marketing channels and widely available.

Not only will this technique drive sales and lead conversions from trade shows, it will position your company as an industry expert, which is exactly what savvy industrial buyers are looking for.

Booth Staff for Your Next Trade Show: The Value of Technical Experts2021-05-26T10:45:32-05:00

About My Work

Eli’s expertise was developed through a series of successful ventures including B2B trade show development and management, developing and utilizing effective content platforms, in addition to automates sales and marketing adaptations. Additionally he has founded sales and service operations in the energy industry.

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