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Cranmore Park Blog

An increasing number of businesses around the world are recognising the value in marketing their activities via trade shows, exhibitions and events. They understand the potential, in terms of generating new leads, networking with industry contacts, and learning about new technologies, techniques and processes from industry thought leaders.

As such, it should come as little surprise to see continued growth in the exhibitions sector, particularly with the economy on an upwards curve. More businesses are choosing to allocate funds to this form of marketing, as they aim to generate interest in their goods and services and improve their brand positioning.

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.

Whether you're conducting a training session or giving a presentation at a conference, stepping in front of an audience can be incredibly nerve-wracking. With a sea of faces staring at you, it is all too easy to feel like nobody is listening and your speech is falling flat, even if that is not the case.

We all want to make an impact with our presentations. However, doing so can be difficult. You certainly don't want to end up staring into your notes and stammering your way through an embarrassing performance! You need to impress your audience, which is easier said than done.

At the next conference you attend, you will almost certainly be given a notepad or something similar to write on. These aren't just for doodling in the margins; note-taking is an important part of every conference. Without it, you will struggle to retain the information you learn and end up with only a vague memory of what was said.

If you want to be able to take the skills and knowledge you learn at your next conference back with you, you need to find the method of note-taking that works best for you. There are plenty of different options; here is a short guide to a few of the most common.

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.

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.

When you are at a presentation, lecture or other session at your next conference, you will need to take notes if you want to retain all the information that is imparted to you. However, this is easier said than done. Keeping up with a seminar can be difficult if you have to concentrate on both what is being said and your own writing.

Human speech is surprisingly fast - around 200 words per minute - and nobody can keep up with it if they are writing everything down word for word. Standard handwriting can only reach speeds of 20 to 30 words per minute. Do you think you could understand your notes if you were only able to write down one word for every ten said?

The use of technology can make a real difference to both exhibitors and attendees at trade shows, it has been claimed. Writing for Business 2 Community, Denise Graziano, chief executive at Graziano Associates, said IT can be used to improve lead generation, sales and the customer experience.

"Technology has elevated the capabilities and levelled the playing field for event planners, exhibitors and attendees," she claimed. However, Ms Graziano said it is not just about lead capturing - it is about the attendee experience before, during and post-show.

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.

Making your first approach is often the part of networking that people find most nervewracking. It can help to practice introducing yourself with a friend. “Hi, I’m [name], [position] at [company]!” and a firm (but not crushing) handshake is a good start.

On the day, a few deep breaths while you remind yourself of your opening can work wonders. If you garble or misspeak, take the opportunity to laugh at yourself. Laughter is infectious, so it becomes an instant icebreaker.

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".

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.

Why exactly would your organisation choose to run training sessions away from your own business premises? This approach adds to costs, as you have to hire a venue - such as specialist meeting rooms or conference facilities - and transport your people to the alternative location. It also increases the amount of time employees spend away from their desks, which can lead to reduced productivity and output on the day.

From a short-term cost perspective, there seems to be a strong case for running training sessions on-site - essentially getting them done without incurring additional costs and then allowing employees to get back on with their work. But if things were so simple, why is it that so many organisations prioritise the provision of off-site training for their people? Why do these companies choose to use third-party facilities in a different location?

Meetings are a necessary part of every company. However, they can so easily go wrong. One of the main problems many businesspeople have is leaving meetings with the feeling that they haven't really achieved anything. Sometimes, it can seem like you don't know why you met in the first place.

This is generally caused by not having a strong brief or agenda going into the meeting. If you are not 100 per cent sure what your aims are when you get your fellow staff members together then you run the risk of the discussion going around in circles, without ever arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.

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.

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: