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Cranmore Park Blog

Planning a conference is not usually an easy task. There are a lot of things you will have to consider, which can be intimidating if it is the first time you've organised such an event. When it comes to choosing a venue, there are a number of things you should be thinking about, many of which are easy to miss.

Here are some of the things you need to make sure you take into consideration when it comes to choosing a venue for a conference:

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.

The UK events industry is in an excellent place at the moment. Conferences, trade shows and other gatherings are being successfully held all around the country thanks to dedicated planning and the use of great venues. However, the government wants to push even harder to make the UK the best country in the world for business conferences.

This bold statement was made by Sajid Jarvid - the secretary of state for culture, media and sport - in a speech he made at the opening day of the World Travel Market on November 3rd. He told attendees of the event that the government will be joining up with the UK events sector.

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.

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.

Work is stressful. No matter what job you're in, this will almost certainly be true. The pressure faced by a chief executive might differ from that of a customer assistant at a fast food restaurant, but it will still be felt strongly by both parties. It has become an inescapable aspect of modern life, and one that employers need to take action against.

At the end of the day, stressed workers are not nearly as efficient at their jobs as happy ones. While some people thrive under mild pressure, most will find they are only able to keep this up for a short amount of time before caving. While your employees are worried and overwhelmed, their work will usually end up suffering.

Leadership development is now the number one priority for HR professionals and senior leaders in the UK, according to a new report which suggests that business cycles and training cycles must be aligned for maximum effectiveness.

In a Right Management study entitled 'Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance' more than than 2,200 HR professionals and SME owners were polled, with 46 per cent identifying leadership development as the top priority for 2014, rising to 54 per cent in the UK.

Many conference attendees find it difficult to absorb information that is presented in ways that require them to passively sit and listen, as is the case in traditional talks. Active learning, which involves using discussion and activities to assimilate information, has been used in schools for some time, and is beginning to become part of the conference environment.

Active learning offers a variety of benefits, such as ensuring that the events at the end of the day aren’t full of people who are bored or who have already been overloaded with information.

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.

Not every business is alike, so when you go to a conference you will generally find that people are approaching every problem from a different perspective. This can be great for varied and interesting discussion, but every so often you will find that you need help thinking about how a certain session will benefit your company.

Taking someone along means you will be able to discuss things with a focus on your firm, or at least the sector your work in. This way, your conference experience will be tailored more around your company and will therefore be more relevant to you.

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.

What can you do to make a real splash at trade shows and stand out from the crowd? One way to increase your visibility - and that of your business - is to become a speaker, rather than simply an exhibitor.

Imagine the possibilities if you are able to hold the floor for a few minutes, with hundreds - or even thousands - of eyes on you. Daunting as this might be, it's one of the best ways to raise awareness of your brand.

If you're running a new start-up business and only have a limited marketing budget to work with, is it a realistic prospect to advertise at trade shows and exhibitions?

There are costs involved with this form of promotional activity, as you'll have to pay for your booth, travel to and from the venue, accommodation and any staffing costs.

Delivering training can be nerve-wracking sometimes. You have to get up in front of a group of your peers and attempt to teach them something that many will think they know already. Keeping them engaged while making sure you are imparting all the information they need to know can be a struggle.

If you are taking a session for the first time, here are a few of the things you will need to bear in mind to make sure it goes off without a hitch:

It's an oft-repeated mantra in business that quality is better than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to a trade show. There is really no point in getting dozens or even hundreds of people to visit your stall if you aren't going to see any return on investment for your time.

You are at a trade show to sell your product, not simply to attract the attention of attendees. In some circumstances the best way to do this is to get as many people to come to your stall as possible in the hope that a decent percentage end up making a purchase. However, it often pays to be a bit more targeted.

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.