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Cranmore Park Blog

As business owners know well, a trade show often represents a significant investment for companies, particularly new businesses and small to medium enterprises (SMEs). As such, it’s important to make sure that you have a clear set of goals so you can measure investment against return. Goals also help at the planning stage, enabling you to tailor your strategy to your aims.

At the most basic level, all businesses will be looking to increase sales and profits. However, this is too vague to have as a goal. As when coming up with any business strategy, it’s important to have not only the ‘what’ element of your goals, but also the ‘how’.

To fix this, it is a good idea to make your conference more interactive. Having your attendees participate in a number of activities will not only more enjoyable, it will also make them feel like they have got more out of the experience. Here are a few different ways you can spice up your next conference with a bit of interactivity:

As far as places to network are concerned, it just doesn’t get much better than an industry specific conference. With so many like-minded people in one place, you can easily extend your current network while consolidating some others that you may not have kept up with in recent months.

If you're hiring specialist, off-site facilities for your next important meeting or training session, you've got to make sure you get value for money. If you choose a suitable centre and room, which is equipped with everything you need, then it's much more likely you'll see the return on investment you hoped for and expected.

If you carry out a recce of training and meeting room facilities - whether in-person or online - you'll be able to eliminate some options straight away. It may be that they are too small, too dark, or simply ill-equipped to meet your organisations needs. If you're paying money to bring people off-site for training, or arranging an important meeting with clients and partners, you need to impress them with the venue, so it's no good settling for a second-rate option.

To many people this might seem like an odd question, but how will people see what you have to offer at your trade show stall if they aren't able to attend the show itself? You might think they have missed their chance, but thanks to the internet they can still be a target market for you.

All you need is a video camera and an internet connection and you can stream your trade show live to an online audience. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but if you prepare well and do everything professionally you might be able to significantly increase your brand exposure.

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 your organisation to benefit from its trip to an exhibition or trade show, you've got to know how to pull the punters in.

You can have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody wants to talk to you, or find out about what you have to offer, you're not going to make any sales.

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".

Attracting people to your stand at your next trade show is one challenge, but have you thought about what you will do with all of them when they get there? You might have had an awkward experience with attendees when too many of them visit you at once, leaving you trying to deal with ten queries at once.

This can make you look unprofessional and under-prepared for the exhibition. It is always a good idea to take one or two extra members of staff with you to every trade show, but sometimes this still isn't enough! If too many people come over to you at once, you will find yourselves rushed and panicked, which will have a negative effect on attendees.

Your organisation has organised a meeting, one that involves potential clients, partners or suppliers. The purpose of the get together is to flesh out the terms for a new business arrangement - one that can benefit your organisation. Eager to agree a deal and get the other party to sign on the dotted line, you want to make the best possible impression with them.

This is one of the main reasons you've decided to book a specialist meeting room in which to conduct negotiations. Bringing the other party into your office might not be the best course of action, particularly if you're pressed for space or there is a lot of activity at your business premises. You don't want to give the wrong impression, and put any negative thoughts in the other party's mind.

If you're running a small business, you'll know all about the importance of having a unique selling proposition (USP). In order to attract customers and keep them out of the clutches of your rivals, you need to offer something a little bit different - a product, service or characteristic that sets you apart from your rivals.

If all you do is sell ordinary goods, at ordinary prices, in a non-descript location, how can you expect to build up a really successful business? In order to kick on, drive revenues and ensure more repeat custom, you need to be unique. Your USP is what grabs people's attention and then encourages them to keep coming back - you've got to have one.

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.

Delivering training can be nerve-wracking sometimes. You have to get up in front of a group of your peers and attempt to teach them something that many will think they know already. Keeping them engaged while making sure you are imparting all the information they need to know can be a struggle.

If you are taking a session for the first time, here are a few of the things you will need to bear in mind to make sure it goes off without a hitch:

At every conference, trade show and exhibition, you will spend a surprisingly large amount of time networking. This is part of what these events are set up for, after all. They are great opportunities to get to know people in your industry and make valuable contacts that could improve your business and make your job a lot easier!

However, for every useful contact you find to network with, there could be five people who are unfortunately a waste of your time. It sounds impolite, but ultimately if you spend your time talking to someone who is not going to be a useful contact in the future then you may have missed an opportunity to forge a meaningful connection with someone else.

There are a million different tactics for networking successfully. You have probably read guides telling you how to hand out business cards, give a good handshake, pick out a good contact from a crowd and organise yourself afterwards. While these are all useful tips to bear in mind, often the most important thing you can prepare is your mindset.

Attitude is everything when it comes to meeting potential business contacts. If you've ever had a conversation with someone at a conference that hasn't ended well, and you aren't sure why, often it will be because you simply weren't in the right mindset to begin with. Luckily, this is something you can easily fix.

The traditional nine to five office job could soon become a thing of the past, with new research suggesting that just 14 per cent of UK workers want to work in a traditional office in the future.

A new report by PwC, entitled ‘The future of work: A journey to 2022’, shows that 53 per cent of people believe that technology will significantly change the way people work over the next five to ten years and force business owners to reconsider company structures.