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Cranmore Park Blog

What could be worse than organising a fantastic trade show or exhibition at no small cost and finding that hardly anyone turns up?

If you've done your research properly, this nightmare scenario is unlikely to materialise. However, if you forge ahead without gauging demand, you could be left with egg on your face.

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:

In order to expand, many companies rely on being able to hire skilled workers so they are capable of taking on more custom. There is nothing wrong with this in theory, but businesses can hit a major hurdle if there is a shortage of potential employees with the talents and knowledge needed for the role.

Skills shortages can have massive effects on UK industry, and there are concerns the country might be in the grip of one right now. Based on the latest research, it would certainly seem like London has a problem with a lack of skilled employees.

If you're organising a trade show, conference or exhibition, your main concern is to ensure everything goes smoothly and the event is considered a success. Both exhibitors and attendees - whether they are individual consumers or business representatives - need to go away satisfied with the experience, knowing they have been properly catered for. So long as you achieve this, they will be happy to return again next year.

One of the first things you need to get right is the venue. Choosing specialist conferencing/exhibition facilities in a central location, close to strong transport links, is a no-brainer. You want exhibitors and other attendees to arrive with ease and be in comfort for the whole day. This means selecting a room or rooms with sufficient space and ensuring you don't go over capacity. If everyone feels cramped and crowded, this will impact on their experience.

One of the most important parts of any trade show or exhibition is setting up. This might seem like an afterthought compared to the actual show, but it is not something that should ever be overlooked. A good setup can make the difference between a professional, well-run stand and one that is stressed and disorganised.

If your setup goes poorly, it is very easy to misplace things. You might end up rushing to get everything together and end up putting something to one side and forgetting about it, or having to forgo an entire section of your stall because you have run out of time and attendees have started coming to see what you have to offer.

If you can secure a great keynote speaker, you've got every chance of organising a great conference overall. The headline act, who delivers the main address, has the ability to make or break the conference.

If the speaker delivers the goods, there's a greater chance of people going home happy, feeling as if they have got value for money from their trip. But if their address flounders, it's likely to leave a lasting negative impression for everyone in the room. And next year, they might not be so eager to attend.

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.

If you're organising a business conference, you want the event to be the very best it can be. But how can you make it a great conference, as opposed to a merely good one? You want people to be competing for places at the conference next year, and this means providing a great experience and developing a positive reputation for the event. Here's how you can deliver a great conference and ensure it becomes a hot topic of conversation in your industry sector:

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.

The Birmingham area has long been touted as one of the best places for conferences in the UK. Its relatively central location and good travel links make it easy to get to for international meetings, and there are many fantastic conference venues in and around the Birmingham and Solihull area that organisations can take advantage of.

If proof was needed of this, one needs look no further than recent statistics from Birmingham's hotel industry. The sector has seen a major boost in occupancy rates recently, and the number of conferences being held in the city is thought to be why.

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.

When the time comes to conduct a training session, you need to make sure you have a room ready that will be suitable for everyone. You can prepare a fantastic, comprehensive training session that goes over everything in plenty of detail, but it is all too easy for your preparation to be ruined by a venue that does not have everything you need.

So, what should you be looking for in a training room? Here are some of the most important features your venue should have:

Businesses can use press releases to "create a buzz" at trade shows and raise awareness of their brands, it has been claimed.

Erienne Muldoon, a customer content specialist for Virtual Press Office, told Beyond PR that if an organisation has a presence at industry events, it has a story to tell.

If you're staging a meeting or training session away from your normal business premises, there's no point hiring a second or third-rate facility. If you're paying for the use of a meeting room, then it needs to be fit for purpose. As well as being equipped with all the necessary furnishings and fittings, it needs to give off a strong, professional vibe. If the meeting room doesn't achieve this, you may as well save your money and use the staff canteen instead.

So what exactly makes a great meeting room? Here are ten must-haves for a facility you'll be happy to use time and time again:

The first ever Expo Midlands event at Cranmore Park proved to a be a huge success, with hundreds of delegates attending and a follow-up event already in the calendar.

More than 60 exhibitors and 500 delegates descended on Cranmore Park for the free event on June 17th, which was headlined by two familiar faces, including one local man who has made it big in the media world.

When you get back from your next conference, you will almost certainly be doing so with a bundle of business cards in hand. If you have organised yourself properly, these will already be sorted and you will have a plan of action for each contact. However, you will still need to make that all-important follow-up call for them all!

If calling people isn't really your thing, then sorry! You are going to have to be on the phone a lot in the days - or even weeks - following a conference. However, the payoff is definitely worth it. Good follow-up work leads to a whole range of benefits for your business, so don't neglect it!