by Jennifer Barham
“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!” Has the holiday season got you feeling all “Bah, Humbug” and Scrooge-y? Or are you a “It’s never too early or hot for pumpkin spice lattes!” kind of person? Whether you’re a Christmas enthusiast or a hater of all things pine-scented and jingly, here’s a fun little Christmas song list with some timely reminders for your trade show season.
“Last Christmas” Remember last Christmas and how great it was and how we had the perfect food and the perfect crowd and I was finally able to get my significant other the perfect gift? Yeah, that was a year ago and nobody cares. You don’t get to “bank” Christmases. And you don’t get to bank trade shows either. Whether you knocked it out of the park or struck out completely, trade shows that are in the past are, well, in the past. And anyway, remember the song? “Last Christmas I gave you my heart, the very next day, you gave it away.” WHAT?! Don’t be the company that gains a bunch of leads one day only to lose them the next. Keep moving, keep going, keep growing!
“Feliz Navidad” I love how everyone knows this one line of the song and exactly none of the rest of it in Spanish. It’s a great reminder that there are lots of ways to greet people all across the globe. Do you stay local and current with your greetings when you do foreign business? Is your exhibit friendly to local attendees? Don’t forget about other inclusive languages like American Sign Language and Braille, as well. How well are you doing at communication with your potentials? Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!
“It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas” Ready or not, here it comes. Don’t be the house that still has Halloween décor and lights up in December. Don’t stick out for the wrong reasons. We all know the feeling of driving by a house that has Christmas lights up in March – it’s a feeling of the homeowners not caring or not knowing. You definitely don’t want anything feeling that way about your booth. Get current and seize the season, whatever it is.
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” I mean, it’s a song so it has to be true, right? Even if it doesn’t FEEL true for you, it feels true for millions. Don’t be “that guy” who complains about the traffic and the decorations and the shoppers. Likewise, don’t be that guy at the trade show who complains about every little inconvenience. Be the guy who sees the positive, who brings the atmosphere up, and who practices some gratitude.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Ah, yes, the old favorite song with the title reassuring loved ones that indeed “I’ll be home for Christmas,” only to punch the very next line with I actually won’t be home for Christmas. Disappointing and confusing. Don’t be Perry Como. Make sure your messaging is honest, clear, and encouraging.
“Deck the Halls” Perhaps the most singable song of Christmas, “Deck the Halls” reminds us to be dressed to impress, to be cheerful, to be about our work, and to look to the year ahead. What more could you want in a song or in your marketing team? So, don ye now your gay apparel and “Fa la la la la la la la la!”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” The two adjective in this song – merry and little – are comforting to me. The admonition is not to have the happiest or biggest ever Christmas ever. It can be lovely simply to have a merry and little Christmas. Practice this dose of reality in your trade show life. Are you trying too hard to make things spectacular and ostentatious and ginormous? And is that working for you? Or would focusing down a bit help expectations and outcomes?
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Utterly confusing to me as a child, this clever little song reminds us that things aren’t always what they seem. As I grew up, I wondered if the little girl ever asked her mom about what she saw, and if her mom told her the truth. How much clearer it all would have become! Consider what misunderstandings might be happening in your trade show world: a half-overheard conversation in the booth leads to animosity or confusion; a distracted attendee strikes you as rude or dismissive or uninterested when you actually have no idea what they’re dealing with; you interpret an exchange you see on the exhibit hall floor incorrectly or negatively. What a shame! Most unclear situations can be quickly clarified by a short conversation or question. Don’t grow up thinking both mom and Santa have betrayed you. Instead, ask the hard questions and have the (possibly) uncomfortable conversation.
“Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer” A tragedy wrapped in frivolity and set to a jaunty tune teaching us the importance of belief lest calamity befalls us. Allrighty! Although he and Grandpa had to learn their lesson the hard way, you don’t. Countless books have been written on the power of belief and its effects. And belief is contagious, so you can be the catalyst for instilling confidence in your own team.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” Do you see what I see? Do you know what I know? This old hymn involves a full-sensory experience of a lone singer taking in the sights and sounds and wonder all around him. Have you ever stood in your booth or outside your booth and practiced experiencing it afresh? What your visitors see, hear, smell, and feel as they near and enter your booth affects them more than even they know. Aim for an experience that aligns with and promotes your branding, whether that’s a peaceful, calming mood or an exhilarating, energizing one.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You“ This is the message – and not just at Christmas – that you want to be sending your customers all year long. You are interested in their well-being, their best interests, their wants and needs. People, even those buying for their companies, buy largely based on emotion, and the primary emotion people want to feel is love in the form of acceptance, approval, and alignment. Let your people know that you are for them and definitely be for them.
“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” The anticipation! Jane Austen wrote, “Anticipation is that sanguine expectation of happiness, which is happiness itself.” It’s good for the soul to always be having something to look forward to – be it Christmas or tea with a colleague or the day’s end. Consider ways in which you might build the excitement of anticipating a good thing into your own life, your team’s work life, your booth’s atmosphere.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, each and every one!
Photo by Tessa Rampersad