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Cranmore Park Blog

So you've travelled a few hours to get to a trade show, having spent time planning meticulously for the event in advance. You've arrived in good time to set your stand up perfectly, and made a big effort to look your best. Everything is in place and you're all set for a great day.

Somewhere on the trade show floor will be the high-value customer you're looking for, and if you're lucky, there may even be a few of them. It's just a case of drawing people into your stand or booth and identifying the big leads you may be able to convert.

If your company has more than a few employees, you probably already have a space in your office that is appropriate for most of the meetings you need in the normal course of business.

However, there are a number of advantages that can be gained by hiring a separate meeting room for certain occasions, particularly if it is not a regular expense.

Conferences and trade shows can offer a multitude of opportunities from a networking perspective. If you're willing and able to put yourself about, and track down the important people in the room, you can add some valuable names to your address book. It could be the leaders of another business involved in your industry, or somebody you'd like to invest in your enterprise. It might be a thought leader, whose insight can add value to your business and help you take it to the next level.

But what you have to remember is that important people also tend to be busy people. You won't, by any means, be the only person who wants to network with them. As such, if you do manage to pin such individuals down for a conversation, you've got to make it count. And this means making a great first impression.

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:

When the time comes to conduct a training session, you need to make sure you have a room ready that will be suitable for everyone. You can prepare a fantastic, comprehensive training session that goes over everything in plenty of detail, but it is all too easy for your preparation to be ruined by a venue that does not have everything you need.

So, what should you be looking for in a training room? Here are some of the most important features your venue should have:

If you can secure a great keynote speaker, you've got every chance of organising a great conference overall. The headline act, who delivers the main address, has the ability to make or break the conference.

If the speaker delivers the goods, there's a greater chance of people going home happy, feeling as if they have got value for money from their trip. But if their address flounders, it's likely to leave a lasting negative impression for everyone in the room. And next year, they might not be so eager to attend.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trade show attendance can have a transformative effect for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it has been claimed.

In an article for Fresh Business Thinking, Aura Print claimed that such events offer a valuable marketing opportunity for growing companies.

A healthy worker is a happy worker. That is a fairly common maxim, but it is one with a great deal of truth to it. People who are fit and have a good diet are generally happier, which in turn makes them better at their jobs.

In fact, Thomsons Online Benefits managing director Chris Bruce just told HR Magazine: "Employees who regularly exercise are better at dealing with stressful situations and also feel energised. If you do this well customers can feel that energy in their interactions with your staff."

One of the keys to staging successful meetings which offer maximum value to your organisation can be knowing which approach to adopt.

According to Nancy Duarte, author of the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, different meetings require a different strategy from the outset.

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.

To fix this, it is a good idea to make your conference more interactive. Having your attendees participate in a number of activities will not only more enjoyable, it will also make them feel like they have got more out of the experience. Here are a few different ways you can spice up your next conference with a bit of interactivity:

If you're hoping to enjoy a successful trade show, you've got to ensure your booth or stand looks as professional as possible.

In order to give the right impression to attendees - the people you hope will become your customers following the event - you've got to achieve the right set-up.