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Cranmore Park Blog

How active should you be in business meetings? Is it important to have an opinion on every issue, or should you wait until you have a valuable point to make?

According to Cary Cooper, professor of organisational management at Lancaster University Management School, it's all too easy to spend an hour in a meeting where people drone on without saying anything.

If you can secure a great keynote speaker, you've got every chance of organising a great conference overall. The headline act, who delivers the main address, has the ability to make or break the conference.

If the speaker delivers the goods, there's a greater chance of people going home happy, feeling as if they have got value for money from their trip. But if their address flounders, it's likely to leave a lasting negative impression for everyone in the room. And next year, they might not be so eager to attend.

Visiting a conference might not seem like a particularly gruelling task, but you will be surprised by how tiring it can be. You might find yourself on your feet for hours at a time, and when you are sitting down you will be exercising your mind as you try to keep up with taking notes and absorbing the content of one of the many panels.

It's hardly equivalent to running a marathon, but all the little activities add up and by the end of the day you might find your eyelids drooping! Obviously this means you will not be getting the most out of your conference. So how can you prevent yourself from being tired out on the day?

Brand exposure is key to any company's expansion plans. While the initial idea may have been a hit, it is crucial to build on that success.

There are numerous methods in helping to get your brand recognised whether it be through marketing campaigns or harnessing the power of social media. However, one method can be sometimes taken for granted but proves to get results. This is attending trade shows.

As an employer, you fully understand the importance of training, and of delivering key information to employees in order to improve their knowledge and understanding.

But sometimes it seems as if your staff members simply aren't engaged with your learning and development exercises. And given that you've invested time and money preparing training, with a view to boosting employee performance, this simply won't do.

If your organisation invests in training for its employees, you can potentially use this as a tool to attract and retain talented staff.

When professionals look for organisations to join, they are interested in more than simply the salary on offer: They are eager to know they can grow their career with the employer, developing new skills and gaining additional experience on the job.

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.

You can get a lot out of a conference by simply showing up and putting as much effort as possible into learning and networking. You might think that you don't need to plan out anything, going with the flow on the day so that you can be available for anything that seems interesting to you.

However, while you might have a good conference with this attitude, you will almost certainly end up missing out on several element that you would like to have caught. This is where a schedule comes in handy, to make sure you get the most possible out of the event.

It's bound to happen to you sooner or later: you go to a conference, full of enthusiasm, but are let down by one appalling session. Maybe it was unhelpful, told you misleading information or was just unbelievably dull! You can laugh about it later, but while you're in the session what do you do?

You can always get up and leave, of course; you will find that the vast majority of sessions at any conference will be helpful to you. However, if that is not something you are comfortable doing then it is good to know how to deal with a bad presentation as a member of the audience. Here are a few tips:

In order to expand, many companies rely on being able to hire skilled workers so they are capable of taking on more custom. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but businesses can hit a major hurdle if there is a shortage of potential employees with the talents and knowledge needed for the role.

Skills shortages can have massive effects on UK industry, and there are concerns the country might be in the grip of one right now. Based on the latest research, it would certainly seem like London has a problem with a lack of skilled employees.

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.

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.

If you're staging a meeting or training session away from your normal business premises, there's no point hiring a second or third-rate facility. If you're paying for the use of a meeting room, then it needs to be fit for purpose. As well as being equipped with all the necessary furnishings and fittings, it needs to give off a strong, professional vibe. If the meeting room doesn't achieve this, you may as well save your money and use the staff canteen instead.

So what exactly makes a great meeting room? Here are ten must-haves for a facility you'll be happy to use time and time again:

A conference or business event can be exhausting and stressful. You need to spend all day making a good impression and showing yourself to be a knowledgeable, professional and sensible employee. It is no surprise, therefore, that many conferences give attendees a chance to relax and let their hair down afterwards with a party.

This can be anything from an elaborately planned event to a simple trip to a nearby pub. However, no matter how formal or casual it is there are still certain rules you need to abide by. People often forget that a post-conference party is still essentially part of the event, therefore you are still representing your company.

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.

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?