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Cranmore Park Blog

As a trade show organiser, you've got a certain number of booths to sell to would-be advertisers, and a certain amount of floor space to fill.

If you're struggling to attract interest in the event, filling up the room can prove to be a challenge - the last thing you want to do is have vast areas of the hall unoccupied.

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:

If you're interested in marketing your business' products or services at a trade show in the coming year, it might be in your interests to commit at soon as possible.

Registering early can help ensure you get the best possible deal, meaning you've got more financial resources left over to spend on your booth display and promotional materials.

If you're staging a meeting or training session away from your normal business premises, there's no point hiring a second or third-rate facility. If you're paying for the use of a meeting room, then it needs to be fit for purpose. As well as being equipped with all the necessary furnishings and fittings, it needs to give off a strong, professional vibe. If the meeting room doesn't achieve this, you may as well save your money and use the staff canteen instead.

So what exactly makes a great meeting room? Here are ten must-haves for a facility you'll be happy to use time and time again:

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.

Working out the costs of trade show marketing is crucial for any business, one industry figure has claimed.

Charles Beshears, the president of National Trade Show Displays, told TSNN that these events "can be a very positive and lucrative experience" for many companies.

Meetings have a valuable role to play in business, but it's important to ensure they are productive. Too many man hours are wasted in meetings which drag on unnecessarily or should never have been organised in the first place.

If you're going to remove employees from their desk - and their workload - for any period of time, you have to have good reason. Your meetings need to offer a return on investment; otherwise how can you justify disrupting your employees' day?

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?

It costs money for businesses to run training sessions for their employees.

As well as the cost of hiring facilities, paying for specialist instructors and provisioning the required training materials, there are also the lost man-hours to contend with. If employees are in training rather than getting on with their jobs, this can have an impact on productivity in the short term.

Knowing who to target at trade shows increases your chances of turning leads into new customers, it has been claimed.

Lew Hoff, president at Bartizan, urged exhibitors to define who they want to speak to and then target them specifically.

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.

It is easy to dismiss training that is seen as unimportant without really understanding its value. Sometimes, if you are being asked to learn something completely new to implement in your office it can be difficult to see how it will fit in with your work day, which can lead to people opting out of sessions that could really help their career development.

However, often these skills that seem useless can have huge effects on your workforce. A good example of this is social media. Many workplaces dismiss this as a meaningful training option - after all, everybody has a Facebook account these days, surely? Besides which, most managers want to stop their workforce going on social media, not encourage it.

The key is to pick your sessions carefully. You can't just go to whatever you feel like, choosing sessions at random, unless you want to have a fruitless conference. Instead, you should carefully select the seminars you want to attend based on how much you will get out of them.

Sometimes, this might involve doing a bit of research. For example, look up the people taking each session. They might just be people who know a bit about the topic they're talking about, or they might be published authors and experts in the field. Often this information will be included in the agenda.

At any trade show or exhibition, there are good booths for advertising your products and services, and there are great ones.

Ideally, you want to tie down one of the latter - some prime 'real estate' at the event where you are prominently-placed and guaranteed footfall.

Whether you've booked it as part of a conference, are intending on holding a training session or just want somewhere to talk to clients, your meeting room is important. You will need to make sure it is right for all your needs. However, many people do not consider everything when it comes to setting up their room.

The layout in particular is something that often gets overlooked. It might seem like a very minor detail, but the way your room is laid out can affect how well your session goes. If you want to encourage an open debate but the room is laid out so not everyone can face each other, it is going to negatively impact your session.

Modern technology means we no longer have to sit through hour upon hour of seminars and lectures at a conference, doggedly taking notes in the hope that you will retain as much information as possible. You can still do this if you want, of course, but you might find that you struggle to remember what all your notes mean.

Instead, it might be better to record things wherever possible. This has long been a practice at conferences, with people asking friends to take dictaphones into sessions they can't make themselves so they don't miss out on anything. However, it might be a good idea to record the sessions you attend as well.