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Cranmore Park Blog

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.

Many people find meetings nerve-wracking, but the stakes (and the stress) can be even higher when you’ve travelled for a big event, whether you’re going to see other departments of your own company or a client.

If you’re asked to present at this kind of event, it can be a major boost to your career progression. However, a high profile presentation can also throw up a number of pitfalls, and even damage your reputation within the company.

Conferences are a great way to expand your knowledge of your industry. However, many people make the mistake of not making use of the full potential of the gatherings. If you turn up, put in the bare minimum of effort, absorb a few lectures and head home, you will not have taken advantage of a number of important features.

One of the most important aspects of attending a conference is that it brings together people from in and around your field. You might find people from similar firms to your own, your suppliers or your clients are all at the same conference as you, giving you the perfect opportunity to do some networking.

Trade shows can be a hard slog at times. You work for a full day, most of which will be spent on your feet, meeting anything from a few dozen to hundreds of people. You will be expected not only to be polite to all of them, but to give your best sales pitch as well. It is no surprise that most people find themselves collapsing on the sofa for a well-deserved rest afterwards!

However, the end of a trade show does not mean you can put it out of your mind. All of the contacts you've made and leads you have acquired will need to be followed up on, which can be hard work; sometimes it's an even tougher job than the original exhibition!

Using Twitter effectively can give you an advantage when it comes to trade shows and making the most of networking opportunities, it has been claimed.

Janette Speyer, a partner at Hot Ice Media, believes the micro-blogging service is an extremely powerful tool - particularly for tracking and communicating.

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.

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.

Have you ever looked over your conference notes? Every time you attend a panel or seminar, you will almost certainly be covering page after page with text, trying to sum up what each speaker is saying. However, these are no good if you don't go over them afterwards.

You will struggle to retain much information if you do not use your notes to jog your memory. However, the main problem many people have at this stage is time. In a busy week, can you spare an hour or two to go over your notes and revise what you learnt at your last conference?

Almost every presentation ends the same way: the presenter gives their conclusion, turns to the audience and says: "Any questions?" Then, they respond to the queries the audience throws their way. This increases the value of the session, as it means anything people are unsure about can be clarified and expanded on.

However, if you are the one presenting then this puts a lot of pressure on you. It might seem like the onus is on other people to come up with good questions, but actually it is all about how you answer them.

If you're exhibiting at a trade show, you need to find ways of maximising your investment - not just on the day of the event but in the weeks and months that follow. You've met new prospects and generated new leads at the trade show, but now you've got to drive home the advantage and turn potential into profits.

According to Timothy Carter, digital marketing manager for Nimlok, there are a number of different ways to achieve this goal. In a recent article for Small Business Trends, he explained some of the ways companies can continue to benefit from trade shows after they have taken place.

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:

Technology has grown at an astronomical pace in the last few years, which has surely affected your life in some way. Your business will work largely over the internet, your car will have the latest sat nav system and your phone will be capable of far more than you would have expected just two or three years ago.

However, it is often still difficult to understand how this new technology can specifically help you and your business. One of the clearest signs of this is the fact that every conference is not a sea of people using tablet PCs like the Apple iPad. Tablets are incredibly useful for conference-goers, yet surprisingly underused.

If you're running a small business, you'll know all about the importance of having a unique selling proposition (USP). In order to attract customers and keep them out of the clutches of your rivals, you need to offer something a little bit different - a product, service or characteristic that sets you apart from your rivals.

If all you do is sell ordinary goods, at ordinary prices, in a non-descript location, how can you expect to build up a really successful business? In order to kick on, drive revenues and ensure more repeat custom, you need to be unique. Your USP is what grabs people's attention and then encourages them to keep coming back - you've got to have one.

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:

How active should you be in business meetings? Is it important to have an opinion on every issue, or should you wait until you have a valuable point to make?

According to Cary Cooper, professor of organisational management at Lancaster University Management School, it's all too easy to spend an hour in a meeting where people drone on without saying anything.

It might seem counterintuitive, but often the worst thing you can do at a conference is stick rigidly to the timetable. You might think the best thing you can do is attend every single session to make sure you don't miss any of the planned talks. However, by doing this you might be missing out on something even more useful.

Sometimes, the best part of a conference is the impromptu meetings and social gatherings that happen between attendees. If you meet someone who would potentially be an incredibly valuable contact for you, should you cut your conversation short so you can make the next session? Most would say no.