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You can’t expect your employees and personnel to sit inside a cramped cubicle or office day in and day out, with little to no change. As Sir Richard Branson once said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.” The same is true of engagement and customer interactions. If your workers are happy, the relationships they have with your customers will be enriched and improved.

The question is: How do you get there? How do you get to a point where your employees are happy, feel valued, and are prepared to go the extra mile? The answer is simple: Get your employees more involved. Offer them freedom and responsibility, which shows you have faith in their abilities. What better way to do this than to allow them to attend trade shows and events, sponsored by or representing your brand?

How can trade show participation boost engagement?

Event attendance addresses one important element of business leadership: company culture. Leaders, executives and management play a direct role in the shaping and development of company culture. However, it’s an easy aspect to overlook, especially in the fast-paced world of business. Unfortunately, if you neglect to maintain and improve company culture, nearly everything about your business is going to suffer as a result.

A majority of employers — 89 percent — feel employees leave their organization for opportunities with more money. In reality, only 12 percent leave for that reason, while 75 percent do so because of their boss. More alarming is the fact that 70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged by their employer.

What this tells you is that you need to keep your workforce engaged and inspired if you want your business to succeed and continue growing. Allowing employees to attend an event and have influence over your brand gives them the power and responsibility they need to feel important. You can use this as a sort of reward, allowing you to provide visible recognition to employees and workers that consistently go above and beyond.

It’s no secret that trade shows and major conferences are highly popular and heavily trafficked occasions. The pace will be fast and stressful, but also lots of fun. You need the right personnel there to make a difference with potential clients and to close big deals. Naturally, choosing employees who excel is a great way to keep performance levels high, and keep everyone engaged and focused.

There are risks with such events, of course. Planning and preparation take quite a bit of time and resources. Traveling to the shows, especially with a larger crew and many display supplies, can be costly. Paying for the operation and display equipment can be just as expensive. You’ll also find plenty of competition to uproot your appearance. You need to be loud and memorable if you want to make a difference, which can be difficult at some of the bigger trade events.

How to make the most of a trade show

As suggested, use the event participation as a sort of reward for your most ambitious and dedicated workers. There are some other great ways to improve the experience for everyone, including any potential customers and visitors you engage with. Don’t be afraid to get creative, because there are many stunning ways to captivate event attendees.

Some great ideas include:

  • Start early, and prepare for the event long before the venue opens.
  • Give away or show off something unusual and unique.
  • Invest your time, resources and talent in a great display or booth decor.
  • Be the life of the party, and allow your employees to flaunt their unique personalities.
  • Send emails and announcements in advance of the event to promote your booth.
  • Find out what your competition or rivals are doing, and go bigger and better.
  • Create buzz and social discussion by sharing humor, staying positive and lifting others up with praise.
  • Use visual content and attractive media, like videos, to capture the attention of passerby.

The absolute best advice we can give for making any trade show or event booth better than all the rest is to keep your employees happy and loyal. The more trust, respect and admiration they have for your company, the more likely they are to excel and really go the extra mile for your customers.

At a public event, you want to stand out and be memorable to everyone you meet. You want them to remember that you had the best booth guides, and that they were funny, poignant and personable. That’s how you make an impact in today’s market.

Scott Huntington is a writer an blogger from Harrisburg, PA. You can find his work on Business Insider, Forbes, Inc, and more. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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