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Cranmore Park Blog

If you're looking to stage a conference, event or exhibition, one of the first decisions you've got to make is about location - where is the event going to take place? There may be a number of options available to you, but how many are really suitable for your needs? How can you tell a great venue apart from an average one?

There's a whole range of factors to consider, and you need to weigh up the importance of each as you look for the best possible site. Think about the practicalities of staging your event, the comfort and convenience for your attendees, and the size of your budget among other issues.

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.

When getting ready for a trade show, there are plenty of things you will already have on your packing list. After all, no one would set off without their promotional material, samples or a demonstration model of their product.

However, there are a few useful items that a lot of people seem to forget. As you’re getting ready, here are some of the most common items people wish they had remembered.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you may well speak to hundreds of different people on any single day. They may all be interesting individuals, people who are interested in doing business with you in the future, but the reality is you can't get to know everybody properly. If you get decent footfall to your stand or booth, there simply isn't the time to have extended conversations with everyone who expresses an interest in your offering.

The fact is that every person who approaches you - or you approach - could be the next potential customer. It won't necessarily be the person you spend 30 minutes talking too, convincing them about the benefits of your products and services. Because however hard you try to make a sale, they still have the right to leave at any point without buying.

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.

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.

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.

Making your first approach is often the part of networking that people find most nervewracking. It can help to practice introducing yourself with a friend. “Hi, I’m [name], [position] at [company]!” and a firm (but not crushing) handshake is a good start.

On the day, a few deep breaths while you remind yourself of your opening can work wonders. If you garble or misspeak, take the opportunity to laugh at yourself. Laughter is infectious, so it becomes an instant icebreaker.

Preparation is one of the most important things when you are exhibiting at a trade show. You can't expect to turn up and make a good impression without having made sure you are ready a long time in advance.

So what's the best way to make sure you are prepared? One method that many successful exhibitors use is to create a checklist a month or two in advance. This enables you to know exactly what needs doing before your next trade show. It also allows you to update the list whenever you need to make some modifications to what you need.

If you're representing your business at a trade show or exhibition, it goes without saying you'll want to look the part personally. Customers aren't going to be impressed if you turn up in a T-shirt and jeans, and nor would you be if you were attending in the same capacity. The chances are you would take your business elsewhere.

As a rough guide, it makes sense to dress one level smarter than the people who you want to become your customers. If you work on the premise that many trade show or exhibition visitors will arrive in smart-casual attire, you want to be wearing a suit or smart dress. Putting on a suit isn't going to earn you scores of new customers. But failing to do so could see you miss out on them.

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.

A number of events industry bodies are joining forces for a major new research project, designed to measure the overall volume and dimensions of the exhibitions and live events sector.

The Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) are embarking on the three-year project with a view to providing benchmarking and quality metrics.

It is easy to dismiss training that is seen as unimportant without really understanding its value. Sometimes, if you are being asked to learn something completely new to implement in your office it can be difficult to see how it will fit in with your work day, which can lead to people opting out of sessions that could really help their career development.

However, often these skills that seem useless can have huge effects on your workforce. A good example of this is social media. Many workplaces dismiss this as a meaningful training option - after all, everybody has a Facebook account these days, surely? Besides which, most managers want to stop their workforce going on social media, not encourage it.

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?

n the digital age, organisations are acutely aware of the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and keeping data away from prying eyes. More and more business is being conducted online, making it ever-more crucial that appropriate safeguards are put in place. Data breaches can result in fines for the organisations involved, and also cause reputational damage which has long-lasting impacts for the business as a whole.

So no wonder then that organisations are eager to shore up their defences and minimise the chances of an incident occurring. Technology has a role to play in reducing the likelihood of a breach, but education is equally important. Employees need to know what they can and can't do online, and how their actions over the internet can cause problems for their organisation.

At every conference you attend, you should have two objectives: to learn more about your business and to network. Each of these is just as important as the other, so should not be neglected. This is why the people who get the most out of their conferences tend to work out a way of combining the two.

Group discussions are one of the best ways to achieve this. Getting together with relevant industry figures and discussing a session or seminar you have just attended is a great way to get to know people while boosting your own knowledge.