tradeshowbodylanguageTrade shows are huge opportunities to expand your client or customer base. Attendees are there because they want what you have. For your booth to be successful, you probably have a checklist that includes: an attractive display, well-trained employees, signup strategies, and promotional materials.

There is an overall impression your company leaves with your attendees, though, that happens at the subconscious level. When they talk to your staff, they pick up small cues through body language. These cues determine how they judge your competency, trustworthiness, and likeability. These impressions are then forever associated with your brand. If your staff came across as confident, the attendee’s brain will retrieve that impression when he reviews your materials later. If your staff’s body language suggested distrust, that attendee will look at your materials and think, “I didn’t really like this company.”

Fortunately, even though these messages are subconscious, you can control them. By using deliberate body language, you can leave a lasting impression that works for you.


1. The Superman Pose and other Power Poses.
We wrote about Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power poses a while ago. She explains that standing in an open pose, like with your hands on your hips and your chest puffed out (a little), both you and your audience perceives you as confident and competent. You can also do some power poses before the show or on breaks. Spending two minutes privately standing with your arms wide open will actually make you more confident.

2. Smile.
This seems like a no-brainer, as smiling is one of those things that make you appear more pleasant. Smiling also reduces stress and improves your mood. Even if you’re not in the smiling mood, wearing a smile will get you there.

3. Slightly Tilt your Head Forward.
When shaking someone’s hand, tilt your head forward slightly, like a subtle bow. Paired with a smile and eye contact, this suggests that you like the person you’re shaking hands with. It also shows humility, which will help you keep confidence from turning into arrogance.

4. Mirror the Posture and Gestures of the other Person.
Another tactic we’ve written about before, mirroring others builds rapport. Notice foot positioning, weight shifting, head tilting, and any gestures a person uses.

5. Angle your Body Towards the other Person.
Leaning in conveys a lot of positive information. You show interest and favor in the other person. This is powerful to do when feeling confronted or challenged, as well. It suggests you’re working with the other person and minimize perceived confrontation.

6. Talk with your Hands.
When you’re comfortable, you naturally use hand gestures during conversation. By letting your hands do some talking, you convey ease and competence. It also implies that you like the person you’re speaking with.

All of these postures will help you send a positive message to your audience. There is also body language to avoid. All four of these behaviors will make you come across as untrustworthy.


1. Touch your Hands.
Your hands should be busy gesturing to support what you’re saying. Touching your hands makes you look nervous. Clasping your hands makes you appear closed-off.

2. Touch your own Face.
Even though touching your face implies that you’re thinking, what you’re thinking about is the question. If your audience thinks you’re up to no good or that you don’t know information, you can leave them with a bad impression.

3. Cross your Arms.
When solving a problem, crossing your arms can actually help you. When talking to others, though, it closes you off. You infer that you’re hiding your true feelings.

4. Lean Away.
Just as leaning forward expresses interest and compromise, leaning away implies you’re disengaged or running away. If you’re mirroring someone else and he is leaning away, it is very important that you lean forward.

Subconscious messages are powerful. Sending the right impressions will support all of your other efforts to turn your prospects into customers. If you need display holders or promotional materials like business card holders or license holders, contact Vinyl Art. We can accommodate standard and custom requests so that your flexible materials are professional and attractive. Call 800-569-1304 or email today. We would be proud to help you thrive.