Booths that stood out to me genuinely seemed delighted to talk to their guests and demonstrate how awesome their products and solutions truly are.
This past spring, I attended Automate, a trade show featuring advancements in robotics, automation and machine learning. Though obviously competing in products and technologies, most display booths were unified in a shared vision for the future: to take the mundane tasks performed in your average distribution center away from the human workforce while moving people into more exciting and fulfilling jobs.
The company booths that stood out cleverly showcased what their products could do; robots played xylophones, spelled complicated sentences out of children’s building blocks, and even served beers to visitors. What really set them apart, however, was the added enthusiasm and friendliness exhibited by booth workers. They genuinely seemed delighted to talk to their guests and demonstrate how awesome their products and solutions truly are.
Unfortunately, not all booth workers were so spirited. I won’t call anyone out specifically, but it was not uncommon to see physical fatigue on the faces of some or complete boredom in others. It would be unfair to blame their malaise on a lack of product greatness; many of the booths had incredible things to share. Somewhere down the line, either from being overworked, mismanaged or potentially both, the human touch simply came up short.
And to think, the theme of this trade show was to showcase how automation would take people away from boring jobs. The irony wasn’t lost on me.