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Cranmore Park Blog

When you are at a presentation, lecture or other session at your next conference, you will need to take notes if you want to retain all the information that is imparted to you. However, this is easier said than done. Keeping up with a seminar can be difficult if you have to concentrate on both what is being said and your own writing.

Human speech is surprisingly fast - around 200 words per minute - and nobody can keep up with it if they are writing everything down word for word. Standard handwriting can only reach speeds of 20 to 30 words per minute. Do you think you could understand your notes if you were only able to write down one word for every ten said?

Work is stressful. No matter what job you're in, this will almost certainly be true. The pressure faced by a chief executive might differ from that of a customer assistant at a fast food restaurant, but it will still be felt strongly by both parties. It has become an inescapable aspect of modern life, and one that employers need to take action against.

At the end of the day, stressed workers are not nearly as efficient at their jobs as happy ones. While some people thrive under mild pressure, most will find they are only able to keep this up for a short amount of time before caving. While your employees are worried and overwhelmed, their work will usually end up suffering.

Technology has grown at an astronomical pace in the last few years, which has surely affected your life in some way. Your business will work largely over the internet, your car will have the latest sat nav system and your phone will be capable of far more than you would have expected just two or three years ago.

However, it is often still difficult to understand how this new technology can specifically help you and your business. One of the clearest signs of this is the fact that every conference is not a sea of people using tablet PCs like the Apple iPad. Tablets are incredibly useful for conference-goers, yet surprisingly underused.

There's much more to conferences than just the programme of events - the workshops, seminars and keynote speakers. They are a convergence of like-minded individuals, who very often have similar backgrounds, experiences and ambitions. As such, conferences offer fantastic opportunities for networking and making valuable additions to your contacts book.

But if you fail to plan properly in advance, you might struggle to make the most of these networking opportunities. Very often, there is a packed programme of events, which leaves little additional time for socialising - particularly if it's only a one-day gathering. You might be eager to rendezvous with certain people, but simply not get the chance.

Meetings have a valuable role to play in business, but it's important to ensure they are productive. Too many man hours are wasted in meetings which drag on unnecessarily or should never have been organised in the first place.

If you're going to remove employees from their desk - and their workload - for any period of time, you have to have good reason. Your meetings need to offer a return on investment; otherwise how can you justify disrupting your employees' day?

If you're advertising at a trade show or exhibition, you may come across many different types of customer - or potential customer - over the course of the day.

What works for one individual may not for another, meaning your organisation needs to adopt a flexible approach to consumer engagement.

At any trade show or exhibition, there are good booths for advertising your products and services, and there are great ones.

Ideally, you want to tie down one of the latter - some prime 'real estate' at the event where you are prominently-placed and guaranteed footfall.

Conferences are a great way to expand your knowledge of your industry. However, many people make the mistake of not making use of the full potential of the gatherings. If you turn up, put in the bare minimum of effort, absorb a few lectures and head home, you will not have taken advantage of a number of important features.

One of the most important aspects of attending a conference is that it brings together people from in and around your field. You might find people from similar firms to your own, your suppliers or your clients are all at the same conference as you, giving you the perfect opportunity to do some networking.

Trade shows are a great way to gain new customers and increase awareness of your brand. However, like anything in the business world, they cost money. You will have to pay out for a number of different things in the course of a show or exhibition, which can end up putting people off going to them.

However, the investment is more than worth it. The money you put into the exhibition will end up leading to more people becoming aware of your company and interested in your products and services. But that doesn't mean you can just splash out and lose track of what you're spending.

Your company might have a world-class promotional video, which you use to inform people of your business offering at trade shows.

But this isn't a great lot of use if the people visiting your stand can't see the screen, or don't want to watch the clip you have filmed.

The automotive industry has been a constant fixture in the West Midlands for decades, and that is still true today, with many of the world's leading car manufacturers having a presence.

At one point, the West Midlands used to be the "Workshop of the World", with Mini and MG Rover leading the way forward for great British car brands, and this strong tradition has continued with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover.

It's an oft-repeated mantra in business that quality is better than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to a trade show. There is really no point in getting dozens or even hundreds of people to visit your stall if you aren't going to see any return on investment for your time.

You are at a trade show to sell your product, not simply to attract the attention of attendees. In some circumstances the best way to do this is to get as many people to come to your stall as possible in the hope that a decent percentage end up making a purchase. However, it often pays to be a bit more targeted.

One of the keys to staging successful meetings which offer maximum value to your organisation can be knowing which approach to adopt.

According to Nancy Duarte, author of the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, different meetings require a different strategy from the outset.

If you're hoping to enjoy a successful trade show, you've got to ensure your booth or stand looks as professional as possible.

In order to give the right impression to attendees - the people you hope will become your customers following the event - you've got to achieve the right set-up.

Many young people are interested in furthering their learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, but do not always have the opportunities to do so, a new survey suggests.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology's 2014 Skills Survey poll, which questioned over 400 engineering and IT staff, revealed that 59 per cent of companies believe a lack of available engineers will be a threat to their business in the coming year.

At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.

These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.