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Cranmore Park Blog

Modern technology means we no longer have to sit through hour upon hour of seminars and lectures at a conference, doggedly taking notes in the hope that you will retain as much information as possible. You can still do this if you want, of course, but you might find that you struggle to remember what all your notes mean.

Instead, it might be better to record things wherever possible. This has long been a practice at conferences, with people asking friends to take dictaphones into sessions they can't make themselves so they don't miss out on anything. However, it might be a good idea to record the sessions you attend as well.

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.

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 use of technology can make a real difference to both exhibitors and attendees at trade shows, it has been claimed. Writing for Business 2 Community, Denise Graziano, chief executive at Graziano Associates, said IT can be used to improve lead generation, sales and the customer experience.

"Technology has elevated the capabilities and levelled the playing field for event planners, exhibitors and attendees," she claimed. However, Ms Graziano said it is not just about lead capturing - it is about the attendee experience before, during and post-show.

Whether you've booked it as part of a conference, are intending on holding a training session or just want somewhere to talk to clients, your meeting room is important. You will need to make sure it is right for all your needs. However, many people do not consider everything when it comes to setting up their room.

The layout in particular is something that often gets overlooked. It might seem like a very minor detail, but the way your room is laid out can affect how well your session goes. If you want to encourage an open debate but the room is laid out so not everyone can face each other, it is going to negatively impact your session.

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.

Conferences and trade shows can offer a multitude of opportunities from a networking perspective. If you're willing and able to put yourself about, and track down the important people in the room, you can add some valuable names to your address book. It could be the leaders of another business involved in your industry, or somebody you'd like to invest in your enterprise. It might be a thought leader, whose insight can add value to your business and help you take it to the next level.

But what you have to remember is that important people also tend to be busy people. You won't, by any means, be the only person who wants to network with them. As such, if you do manage to pin such individuals down for a conversation, you've got to make it count. And this means making a great first impression.

Nobody likes excluding people. However, when you are manning a stall at an exhibition or trade show you will not be able to spend the same amount of time with everyone. You might deal with hundreds of people in a single day, many of whom will want a significant amount of your time.

You might want to be as customer-pleasing as possible and give everyone as much of your time as they want. However, this approach could lead to you losing custom as people looking to talk to you get bored of waiting around and leave your stall. Unfortunately, you need to learn which customers are worth talking to and which you should avoid.

If you are organising a major event - such as an exhibition, conference or trade show - one of the most important aspects of the planning process will be the risk assessment.

You need to ensure there is an exciting programme of events, and that high-profile organisations are in attendance, but your first priority has to be ensuring the safety of everyone on-site.

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.

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’.

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".

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.

Whether you're conducting a training session or giving a presentation at a conference, stepping in front of an audience can be incredibly nerve-wracking. With a sea of faces staring at you, it is all too easy to feel like nobody is listening and your speech is falling flat, even if that is not the case.

We all want to make an impact with our presentations. However, doing so can be difficult. You certainly don't want to end up staring into your notes and stammering your way through an embarrassing performance! You need to impress your audience, which is easier said than done.

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.

How far ahead can you plan your business diary? The one thing you should always expect in business is the unexpected - circumstances, scenarios and events which force you to change course at short notice.

While you can never be sure exactly where you'll be at any given point, or which tasks will be your most immediate priority, it is vitally important to plan ahead as far as possible. As a business leader, your year needs a degree of structure - week by week, month by month. This gives you the best possible opportunity of achieving both short and long term goals.