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Cranmore Park Blog

If your business is anything like the majority of UK companies, your workforce probably consists mostly of younger employees. However, these are kept in line by a range of older workers who have been with the firm for a long time, and are therefore able to share their expertise and skills.

Maturity, therefore, can be a valuable asset for a business. However, it is one that is certain to go away at some point as your older employees leave to advance their career or retire. Ideally, you will want most of your workforce to be older, but this is not possible. Most new workers will be younger and need to learn the ropes of your industry.

Planning a conference is not usually an easy task. There are a lot of things you will have to consider, which can be intimidating if it is the first time you've organised such an event. When it comes to choosing a venue, there are a number of things you should be thinking about, many of which are easy to miss.

Here are some of the things you need to make sure you take into consideration when it comes to choosing a venue for a conference:

Creating the perfect trade show stand can give your business a real boost, in terms of attracting new customers and boosting revenues. But there are a number of common pitfalls you'll need to avoid if you're going to make the best possible use of your advertising space. Here are ten big 'no-nos' for your trade show marketing:

Not every business is alike, so when you go to a conference you will generally find that people are approaching every problem from a different perspective. This can be great for varied and interesting discussion, but every so often you will find that you need help thinking about how a certain session will benefit your company.

Taking someone along means you will be able to discuss things with a focus on your firm, or at least the sector your work in. This way, your conference experience will be tailored more around your company and will therefore be more relevant to you.

Every business owner knows that keeping your employees happy with their careers is key to ensuring you have the best people working for you at all times. If you have an unmotivated workforce full of people who are convinced they are stuck in a dead-end job, you will soon end up losing them.

This is rarely a good thing. A high staff turnover looks bad for your company, discouraging the most talented people from applying for a job there. When you employ somebody with the potential to have a huge positive effect on your firm, you want to ensure they stick around rather than jetting off to another business.

Trade shows can be a hard slog at times. You work for a full day, most of which will be spent on your feet, meeting anything from a few dozen to hundreds of people. You will be expected not only to be polite to all of them, but to give your best sales pitch as well. It is no surprise that most people find themselves collapsing on the sofa for a well-deserved rest afterwards!

However, the end of a trade show does not mean you can put it out of your mind. All of the contacts you've made and leads you have acquired will need to be followed up on, which can be hard work; sometimes it's an even tougher job than the original exhibition!

Have you ever had a trade show that was a failure, but without any clear reason why? It could be that you had very few people come over to your stand, or that the people who did talk to you rarely ended up making a purchase. Often, this is because you got one thing wrong: your positioning.

This seems like a very tiny part of a successful trade show experience, but it is actually incredibly important. Where you sit or stand plays a large part in how approachable you seem, as well as whether you come across as relatable or distant to the attendees. So, where do you usually position yourself?

What do you look for in your managers? Some people like to think their bosses will be easygoing, authoritative, or think a sense of humour is the most important trait they can have. However, the general consensus is that there is one skill that is vital when it comes to effective management: communication.

Being able to easily express what needs to be done, delegate jobs clearly and uncover important information as soon as it is needed all comes under the umbrella of effective communication. These are all qualities you would associate with a good manager.

Conferences are great places to learn more about your area of business and improve your skillset. However, they are also one of the best places to network. You will be in the same place as the top people in your industry for an entire day, so it is important to make the most of this opportunity to gain some key contacts.

However, you will be talking to a large number of people at each conference, as will everyone you meet. Under these circumstances, it is easy to see how you can struggle to remember people and their contact details. This is where business cards come in.

It might seem counterintuitive, but often the worst thing you can do at a conference is stick rigidly to the timetable. You might think the best thing you can do is attend every single session to make sure you don't miss any of the planned talks. However, by doing this you might be missing out on something even more useful.

Sometimes, the best part of a conference is the impromptu meetings and social gatherings that happen between attendees. If you meet someone who would potentially be an incredibly valuable contact for you, should you cut your conversation short so you can make the next session? Most would say no.

As a trade show organiser, you've got a certain number of booths to sell to would-be advertisers, and a certain amount of floor space to fill.

If you're struggling to attract interest in the event, filling up the room can prove to be a challenge - the last thing you want to do is have vast areas of the hall unoccupied.

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.

One of the most time-tested tactics at a trade show is to bring along a slew of promotional items to give out to the attendees. While this won't necessarily attract all that many more people to your stall, it is a good way to spread awareness of your brand and to solidify your message in the minds of those you talk to.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have recorded the highest hiring growth since 1998, according to new findings.

Research published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that 34 per cent of those polled increased their headcount in the three months leading up to July.

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.

If you're taking time out to attend a conference, it's important that you make the most of the experience. There's always things that need doing in the workplace, so if you're sacrificing those man-hours to attend an industry event, it's important to gain value from your attendance.

According to speaker and author Michele Lawson, approaching conferences with the right attitude is all-important. Writing for the Huffington Post, she claimed there are two things that can hinder an individual's conference experience. These are the preconceived notion of experience and expectation".