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Cranmore Park Blog

Why exactly is Birmingham such a popular destination for exhibitions, conferences and events in the UK? There are a few reasons, but the most obvious is its location - the West Midlands is relatively accessible from most parts of Britain.

If you're staging an event and expecting attendees from across the nation, the last thing you want to do is choose a site in one corner of the island. For instance, if you opt for Scotland, it's immediately more difficult for people to come from London. And if you stage the event in the south-east, the opposite applies.

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:

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.

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.

What's the first thing you are going to do when you get to a trade show? Before you start attracting people over to your stand and making sales, you will need to set it up. This is an area in which many companies fall down, as they are simply not prepared for how troublesome getting everything prepared can be!

If you don't get yourself set up in time, you can really lose out at a trade show. The first attendees will see you as disorganised and be put off coming over and seeing what you have to offer. Meanwhile, you will be stressed out and panicked all day, further affecting your overall success!

The Engineering Development Trust (EDT) has praised Cranmore Park after the nationwide education charity successfully held its latest Midlands event at the venue.

The EDT, which is in its 30th year of operation, provides STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) enrichment activities for young people across the UK, and as such needs to hold a variety of events throughout the calendar year.

A conference or business event can be exhausting and stressful. You need to spend all day making a good impression and showing yourself to be a knowledgeable, professional and sensible employee. It is no surprise, therefore, that many conferences give attendees a chance to relax and let their hair down afterwards with a party.

This can be anything from an elaborately planned event to a simple trip to a nearby pub. However, no matter how formal or casual it is there are still certain rules you need to abide by. People often forget that a post-conference party is still essentially part of the event, therefore you are still representing your company.

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".

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.

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.

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!

Employers are to be provided with assistance in recruiting prospective staff with the highest value skills, in an effort to ensure companies are taking on the most suitable candidates from the outset.

The government has revealed that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is set to alter the way that the outcomes of education and skills for adult learners are measured, in a bid to enable employers and training providers alike to focus more closely on giving students the skills they need in order to land new jobs and progress.

This might not be the ideal solution; however it is much better than not sending anyone at all. Your company will still gain valuable contacts and business expertise, both of which will be incredibly useful. Unfortunately, it does mean a bit more work for you.

If you want to get the most out of the conference you are sending people to, you will need to set up meetings before and afterwards, and perform a solid amount of supplementary work. This can be difficult, but the rewards if you do it well are more than worth it as it can give your business a real boost!

Attracting people to your stand at your next trade show is one challenge, but have you thought about what you will do with all of them when they get there? You might have had an awkward experience with attendees when too many of them visit you at once, leaving you trying to deal with ten queries at once.

This can make you look unprofessional and under-prepared for the exhibition. It is always a good idea to take one or two extra members of staff with you to every trade show, but sometimes this still isn't enough! If too many people come over to you at once, you will find yourselves rushed and panicked, which will have a negative effect on attendees.

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.

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.