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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.

Delivering employee training not only helps upskill workers, enabling them to do their jobs properly, but it also assists organisations with talent retention.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that employees stay longer with their employers when they feel like they are developing professionally and their goals are being supported.

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 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:

Hosting a Wi-Fi hotspot at your conference or trade show can make for a more successful event for all concerned.

With so many people reliant on their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, people expect to be able to get online wherever they are.

If there is one thing that is practically guaranteed to make trade show attendees turn around and leave your stall before you've even had a chance to make a good impression, it's clutter. A messy stand should absolutely not be the first thing visitors see, or they will assume you are unprofessional and sloppy.

You probably know not to have a stall covered in rubbish, but clutter can be anything that is out of place. Even members of staff can make your stand seem messy if they are sitting around bored or finishing off their lunch. If they are not working to improve your image, then they are actively harming it!

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.

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.

If your organisation invests in training for its employees, you can potentially use this as a tool to attract and retain talented staff.

When professionals look for organisations to join, they are interested in more than simply the salary on offer: They are eager to know they can grow their career with the employer, developing new skills and gaining additional experience on the job.

Every business owner knows that keeping your employees happy with their careers is key to ensuring you have the best people working for you at all times. If you have an unmotivated workforce full of people who are convinced they are stuck in a dead-end job, you will soon end up losing them.

This is rarely a good thing. A high staff turnover looks bad for your company, discouraging the most talented people from applying for a job there. When you employ somebody with the potential to have a huge positive effect on your firm, you want to ensure they stick around rather than jetting off to another business.

You're heading to a conference or exhibition and looking to build up your industry contacts book. This means putting yourself out their and networking with the people who matter. The only problem is, you're not exactly sure what to do.

There's more to business networking than simply gatecrashing somebody else's conversation and throwing a sales pitch at them. If this is your approach, you're not likely to get very far. In fact, some of the people you'd like to get to know will go out of their away to avoid your intended meeting.

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.

In a recent interview with the Express and Star, Jaguar Land Rover operations director Trevor Leeks confirmed his company’s plans for the West Midlands, where it has recently expanded its production capacity. In his words, the organisation plans to be in the area “for generations”.

In light of this reaffirmed commitment to the well-established tradition of automobile manufacturing in the region, it seems fitting that Cranmore Park is becoming an increasingly popular venue for industry events, particularly for trade buyers.

Meetings are a necessary part of every company. However, they can so easily go wrong. One of the main problems many businesspeople have is leaving meetings with the feeling that they haven't really achieved anything. Sometimes, it can seem like you don't know why you met in the first place.

This is generally caused by not having a strong brief or agenda going into the meeting. If you are not 100 per cent sure what your aims are when you get your fellow staff members together then you run the risk of the discussion going around in circles, without ever arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.

Every exhibition and trade show will involve a lot of vying for attention. You are going to be attempting to attract potentially hundreds of visitors to your stall, which is no easy task when there could be dozens of your competitors exhibiting within metres of you.

Furthermore, you are going to be trying to grab the attention of people who might never have heard of you or the products you offer. In these circumstances, you might find yourself wanting to just give up and go home! However, this should be seen as an opportunity for success and a challenge to be overcome.

Exhibitions and large trade shows are a great place to advertise your business. Usually, this means getting a stand together and showcasing whatever it is you have to offer, whether that means showing off the services you offer to potential customers or trying to get retailers to stock your wares.

This can be a great way to grow your business, but there are several challenges you must overcome first. Trade shows will not consist of just your stand and a swathe of potential customers; there could be dozens if not hundreds of competitors there with the same goals as you.