My recent posts have included mandatory tools in my toolbox, as well as showing you ways to mobilize your services. Today’s Post addresses ways to Dress for Event Success!
In my early days, I could typically be found wearing a skirt and heels. As I became more involved in the installation and removal process, I found that this was not going to last long!
Part of my self-imposed training had me all over the place, including assisting in schlepping freight and trying to identify the "mystery" packages that would come in on every show! My "go to" gear quickly changed to comfort instead of fashion. I spent $150 dollars on a pair of Rockport boots and coupled them with a pair of Dockers and a polo.
This became boring to me (quickly I might add) as it didn't allow me to be my stylish self! Then came my new discovery...UGGS! I fell in love with these babies back in 2003 when I was pregnant with my little one! My feet were in heaven...almost like wearing slippers!
If you've ever worked an event on the back end you know that it's possible to walk anywhere from 5 to 10 miles a DAY! My new boots provided great comfort and it wasn't long before I had them in multiple colors! They became, and still are, one of my TOP trade show staples!
I then took to my restaurant experience and changed how I provided service on my floors! While waiting tables I used to view my section as a whole...why make multiple runs when you could simply consolidate all of them. Why not do this on my trade show floor, I thought! I started to view my floors (up to hundreds of booths) as one huge section, and we would split it into quads or aisles and assign staff members to service their designated area.
Since I couldn't always use my favorite mode of transportation, my golf cart, I had to come up with a way to be mobile on my feet and still have supplies on me for anyone that I encountered.
I decided then to have branded aprons made for me and my staff, just like the ones used in my restaurant days! This allowed me to carry additional supplies and provide the service level that I became known for...on the GO!!!
So, how do you dress for event success? This is how I roll on the trade show floor:
I always wore a black branded Company shirt that included "EVENT STAFF" nice and big on the back. These became especially useful when I needed to identify my labor resources on the floor! I always had shirts made that included "EVENT STAFF" on the back in large letters so that they were easily recognizable. For my Union personnel, I had them wear RED so I could easily identify my high cost labor. The bright RED always said "STOP" in my eyes and they would be the first ones cut! The Temp Agencies were typically provided Event Staff tees in white.
My apron was part of the floor "uniform" that I implemented and allowed me to carry a lot of things in my pockets! I always had promotional pens available, business cards, sign hooks, a two-way screwdriver, mints, and a box cutter in my back pocket for easy access! This allowed me to always be READY for whatever was being thrown my way!
I'm always equipped with my iPhone and use the headphones in an effort to keep my hands free! I'm so used to using it this way that I often feel naked without!
Two-way radios were a MUST on every event floor. This was the way we communicated with each other throughout the hall and the loading dock. I always required a lapel microphone to, again, keep my hands free!
As I shared above, shoe selection is oh so important! I've gone through my trial and error phases and ultimately rely on my faves, Uggs!
The one thing that stood out most about me though, was my non-stop smile and excitement for the event! I do love this business and it always showed! It truly is one of the BEST things you can ever wear!
Lastly, when it rolled around to show time, I would step up my appearance! You could always find me in black slacks, typically a red shirt, boots, and some of my favorite bling! I always packed a change of clothes that morning so that I could do a quick change downstairs in preparation for the removal.
Whether you're an exhibitor or an attendee, it's always important to dress appropriately. You spend a lot of time on your feet and you certainly don't want to get run down early on in the scheme of things.
The following is a list of my “do’s” and “don’ts” to consider at your next event:
DON'T: I've seen female exhibitors come into the exhibit hall set-up wearing skirts/dresses and heels. If you're just doing a drive-by, that might be okay. But if you're expected to participate in the set-up, you may want to reconsider.
DO: I always recommend that exhibitors rent booth carpet for their space. Not only does it make your space look better, it definitely helps those working all day. Standing up and working long shifts takes it toll, especially on hard cemented floors. Definitely worth the rental fee.
DO: Have a meeting ahead of time with your booth staff and come up with a booth attire plan. Is everyone wearing a Company polo/shirt and khakis? When you have multiple people working your booth, you want to portray the look and feel of a team.
DO: Dress for the room temperature! Set-up and removal days are usually warmer as the facility doesn't typically have the A/C running. I always recommend bringing a sweater or long-sleeve shirt on the day of the event as they usually crank the A/C to some kind of crazy temperature!
DON'T: Cleavage...cleavage...and more CLEAVAGE!?! This, to me, is a big NO! What kind of message are you sending? How can anyone take anything you say seriously if they can't get over the hump(s)!?! I worked very hard, in what is mostly a male-dominated industry, to gain the respect of others and it had absolutely nothing to do with my girls hanging out! YES...it can be done! DON'T sell yourself short!
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: And what about those Booth Babes! Sure, you can hire gorgeous event models to staff your booth pretty much anywhere in the country. You can also dictate what they wear to your event. I understand that there are some events where the true "booth babe" is needed, but the majority of the ones I've seen are all T&A and looked entirely misplaced. Decide on what message you are trying to portray and go from there.
DO: And finally, the best thing that you can ever wear is a SMILE! ;-)
In closing, the most important thing that I can share with you is to wear what is comfortable and that sends the message that you wish to portray! Do you have any other tips based on your event experience? Please share with me below!