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Cranmore Park Blog

Networking is a key part of most conferences, but it is also the most difficult aspect to pull off successfully. It's simply not something many people are all that good at, unless you have spent a lot of time at a lot of events getting to know strangers.

The main thing that most people get wrong is not a small thing, such as your body language, your small talk or how polite you are. Instead, it is the larger goal that most networkers forget. Essentially, very few people actually understand why they are networking in the first place.

If you're planning a conference for the first time, you might not realise what a big job you've undertaken. Even if it's going to be a relatively manageable event in terms of numbers on the day, or over the period of the event, there's still an awful lot of preparation to be done in advance.

You want to make the best possible impression with everyone who attends, in order to build a strong reputation which will stand you and your organisation in good stead in the future. In order to achieve this, you've got to hire great facilities, organise high-quality events, book the right speakers and ensure everyone's needs are met.

If you're staging a meeting or a training session, you'll welcome the opportunity to lay the room out according to the optimum design.

It may be that you need a 'boardroom' set-up, with everyone around one table, or that you require more of a 'classroom' set-up, with chairs and desks facing the front of the room.

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:

Whether you are meeting with clients, colleagues or members of your board, you will want to make sure that you have a good discussion that reaches a solid conclusion. However, this is often easier said than done. Without a skilled guiding hand to keep the conversation on the right track, you can end up having an unproductive time.

If you are responsible in any way for chairing or leading a meeting, you are going to need to make sure it remains on-topic for the duration. Otherwise you are going to struggle to talk about any pressing issues you have. However, people have a tendency to get distracted and overcomplicate conversations.

Running a training session can be fairly stressful on its own. Unless you are a teacher, most people will have never taught a group of people before. Starting from scratch is a challenge, but hopefully you will rise to the occasion. The problem is when your employers decide your session should be expanded into a company-wide programme.

If you are asked to do this, don't panic! You wouldn't be asked if you boss wasn't sure you were up to the challenge. However, you will need to develop a whole new set of skills to roll out a programme on this scale. You will need to learn a lot before you can even begin to teach!

Independent Gyms Summer Conference 2021

We were delighted to work with Independent Gyms to host their recent summer conference which was their first in-person event, post lockdown. Founder Robert Handy has big plans for Independent Gyms future live events and he explains why they'll be choosing Cranmore Park as a venue...
 

INDX Fashion Shows 

After an 18 month absence, INDX Fashion shows recently returned to Cranmore Park and we welcomed trade suppliers and retail customers across four separate buying events. Despite the challenges of planning through a pandemic, the shows were delivered safely and successfully and we are delighted to confirm that INDX Fashion have re-booked the venue for next year and we look forward to working with them to plan their next shows...

Every business is aware of the importance of training and continuous professional development, but the extent to which this is carried out appears to differ greatly when the perspectives of both companies and their workers are taken into account.

That is the key finding following two reports published by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) on workplace learning, one of which adopted the point of view of employers, and another which questioned their staff.

Only at the most casual of exhibitions should you ever wear jeans. It is always better to look smarter than necessary than it is to look scruffy, so go for something a bit more upmarket. If you don't want to wear a suit, then khakis and a shirt or polo will do.

You should also think about picking out something with plenty of pockets. Your jacket might have a few, but you are going to need all you can get. You will probably be carrying a mini-office around with you in your pockets, so go for practicality over style in this area.

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.

The UK events industry is in an excellent place at the moment. Conferences, trade shows and other gatherings are being successfully held all around the country thanks to dedicated planning and the use of great venues. However, the government wants to push even harder to make the UK the best country in the world for business conferences.

This bold statement was made by Sajid Jarvid - the secretary of state for culture, media and sport - in a speech he made at the opening day of the World Travel Market on November 3rd. He told attendees of the event that the government will be joining up with the UK events sector.

Many conference attendees find it difficult to absorb information that is presented in ways that require them to passively sit and listen, as is the case in traditional talks. Active learning, which involves using discussion and activities to assimilate information, has been used in schools for some time, and is beginning to become part of the conference environment.

Active learning offers a variety of benefits, such as ensuring that the events at the end of the day aren’t full of people who are bored or who have already been overloaded with information.

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.

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.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you need to find ways of maximising your investment - not just on the day of the event but in the weeks and months that follow. You've met new prospects and generated new leads at the trade show, but now you've got to drive home the advantage and turn potential into profits.

According to Timothy Carter, digital marketing manager for Nimlok, there are a number of different ways to achieve this goal. In a recent article for Small Business Trends, he explained some of the ways companies can continue to benefit from trade shows after they have taken place.