We hear about change a lot on this blog, in this industry, in the business press. There are numerous books, like the classic Who Moved My Cheese? and countless articles, which pop up often on PCMA’s reading guide from outlets like Forbes and even Harvard Business Review.
That’s because change is scary. Change is hard for most people, for myriad reasons. Technology, social media, global business needs, changing values among young people, diversity in governments and board rooms –life is different today than it was yesterday. And it will be different again tomorrow. You’re being challenged to innovate and create something new at your next show, event, exhibit. You’re under pressure to add value for members and attendees, do more with less, stay ahead of the curve.
Change is easier together. Facing the fear of failure or the fear of doing something different is much easier with a trusted partner by your side.
Recently our team has worked with clients to make some small changes on their shows that they hope will improve the attendee experience. One is a floorplan layout redesign, something we have addressed before as part of creating fascinating experiences for attendees. Creating diagonal cross aisles interrupts the status quo mindset of attendees walking the aisles and gets exhibitors to pay attention that the future is being taken seriously. We are eager to see reactions at our client’s show in March, as well as reaction at some industry shows that picked up on this trend.
Another simple change is thinking about social media décor. We worked with a show recently to create a customized prop for their booth that encouraged photo taking – and sharing — on social media. This was a simple décor addition that resulted in thousands of people being reached online by word of mouth through attendee social media usage.
By questioning current practices, and recognizing tomorrow will be different than today, we can all become less afraid of making changes. Things are easier when team members and partners can come together for a conversation about what should be kept and what should be changed.
Here’s a quick idea:
Write Keep and Change at the top of two pieces of paper during your pre-event meetings and especially at your post-event review. Start listing elements of your conference, trade show, your schedule, the decorations, food, anything is fair game.
The trick is to be open to discussion when a team member questions why an item is on the Keep list. And if the Change list is short, ask yourself and the team “What’s one thing you would change if budget was not an issue?” and “What would you change if you weren’t worried about what your boss or board members would think of you?”
It could be one small change for your show, but one giant leap for your revenues.