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The goal of our “Prepare to Thrive” series is simple.  At Exhibitus, we advocate for our event manager customers to find a seat at the table.  Developing a successful career as a lead for trade show execution takes planning and effort.  And, even if you currently find the work itself enjoyable and interesting, unless  your organization  recognizes and appreciates your contribution, interest will evaporate. So we hope you find information in the series that will propel your career forward as our industry regains its important position in the world economy.

Adaptability is a close cousin to resilience, with a degree of forward moving expectations thrown in.  Definitions include: the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions and the capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.  Being adaptable has always been an important component along the journey of a successful career.  Those who are able to respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends and strategies in a business environment not only move ahead faster, but also seem to take greater pleasure in meeting the challenges we all face on a daily basis.

In an article in Forbes magazine entitled, “14 Signs of an Adaptable Person,” Jeff Boss sums up the following traits of adaptable people:  they experiment, see opportunity where others see failures, they are resourceful, they think ahead, don’t whine, blame others or claim fame. They are open minded and stay current.1

For both exhibitors, trade show booth designers and vendors, the trade show industry has kept us incredibly busy for the past several decades as the robust business environment demanded more face-to-face engagement with customers  and prospects.  Coming up for air to learn new skills or explore new ways of thinking was not always in the cards.  But COVID-19 changed our frantic world, and for most, we now have time to step back and evaluate where we are on the adaptability scale in order to improve these traits.  New learning can help us pivot with current conditions and provide enhanced skills when the event world returns.

Here are ways Boss suggests we train to be more adaptable as they relate to the event world.

Change Your Thought Process

We all love to remember past events that went really well, and often we work hard to recreate success in the same way we did then.  Sticking to the, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it,” misses the opportunity to get creative, improve, learn and grow.  Here is where event managers can help company leadership shift their thinking about always using the same approach. By being open to the thoughts and opinion of others, we gain different perspectives that can lead to new opportunity.

Force Yourself to Take Risks

Did the suggestion above about taking new ideas to leadership make your stomach turn? Without risk, little progress is made. Learning the appropriate approach is important, but don’t be deterred from making a suggestion you believe will improve your program. Start small if you are risk-adverse. Build comfort by talking with your team about system development to support risk-taking given your company’s culture.

Encourage Others to Be Open Minded

By being open minded, you set a model for those that are around you. We have all known event managers who control a certain aspect of a trade show program, and no one dare tread on her/his territory by suggesting even the smallest change. Take an assessment of where you are closed-minded to evaluate why and if that approach serves you and your company well.  Encourage others in a supportive manner as issues arise.

Embrace Learning

Curious people tend to stay current and typically are more adaptable.  Reading about industry trends, attending seminars, listening to podcasts, watching TedTalks and taking online courses (mostly free on edX and other MOOC sites) are all ways to gain knowledge without significant time commitments.  Pick topics and explore.  For event managers, learning more about current trends in branding, storytelling to demonstrate a product’s value, or the role emotions play in purchase decisions can bring new ideas to the next cycle of events when the world opens back up.

At Exhibitus, we are not resting during this time. Our team is dedicated to learning new skills that will support more innovative ways to gain the attention and respect a brand deserves in the eyes of customers and prospects, whether face-to-face physically or virtually. Contact us and let us explore the future and pivot to the new world together.