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Cranmore Park Blog

Happy and motivated workforces are critical to business success, with a more happy and enthusiastic workforce translating into an increasing number of staff who are loyal and productive.

As such, the way that leaders manage their employees will have a great bearing on the direction of the company and future profits - something that is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who will often have a lower number of staff compared to the bigger firms.

Before your organisation embarks upon any programme of employee training, it is important that you identify its precise needs. Why exactly are you investing in learning and development exercises for your employees?

When there are specific goals in place, it provides a clear focus for the training. Sessions can be constructed in such a way that targets key aspects of employees' knowledge or understanding, and seeks to improve upon it.

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?

There's much more to conferences than just the programme of events - the workshops, seminars and keynote speakers. They are a convergence of like-minded individuals, who very often have similar backgrounds, experiences and ambitions. As such, conferences offer fantastic opportunities for networking and making valuable additions to your contacts book.

But if you fail to plan properly in advance, you might struggle to make the most of these networking opportunities. Very often, there is a packed programme of events, which leaves little additional time for socialising - particularly if it's only a one-day gathering. You might be eager to rendezvous with certain people, but simply not get the chance.

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.

At a trade show, you will typically find dozens of exhibitors all vying for attention. There are a number of different ways you can stand out from the rest, but one of the simplest - and most effective - is simply to offer some refreshments.

These don't have to be particularly elaborate; after all, most attendees will be able to get a proper meal from the venue's restaurant. But a few little snacks, sweets or drinks will be surprisingly welcome at most trade shows. You could use lollipops, bottles of water or small chocolate bars to achieve this effect.

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.

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!

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.

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:

Professional people can spend hour after hour in business meetings without ever settling on a particular course of action.

Decisions can get deferred to further meetings, which will be scheduled in for a future point in time, or issues will simply be brushed under the carpet.

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.

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.

If you are organising a major event - such as an exhibition, conference or trade show - one of the most important aspects of the planning process will be the risk assessment.

You need to ensure there is an exciting programme of events, and that high-profile organisations are in attendance, but your first priority has to be ensuring the safety of everyone on-site.

When getting ready for a trade show, there are plenty of things you will already have on your packing list. After all, no one would set off without their promotional material, samples or a demonstration model of their product.

However, there are a few useful items that a lot of people seem to forget. As you’re getting ready, here are some of the most common items people wish they had remembered.

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.