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Cranmore Park Blog

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.

If your organisation invests in training for its employees, you can potentially use this as a tool to attract and retain talented staff.

When professionals look for organisations to join, they are interested in more than simply the salary on offer: They are eager to know they can grow their career with the employer, developing new skills and gaining additional experience on the job.

If you've got a great product or service to offer at a trade show, members of the public may be interested in placing orders with you on the day.

This is exactly what you're looking for - an immediate boost to revenues and an expanded customer base achieved through direct engagement with consumers.

There are a million different tactics for networking successfully. You have probably read guides telling you how to hand out business cards, give a good handshake, pick out a good contact from a crowd and organise yourself afterwards. While these are all useful tips to bear in mind, often the most important thing you can prepare is your mindset.

Attitude is everything when it comes to meeting potential business contacts. If you've ever had a conversation with someone at a conference that hasn't ended well, and you aren't sure why, often it will be because you simply weren't in the right mindset to begin with. Luckily, this is something you can easily fix.

If you're representing your business at a trade show or exhibition, it goes without saying you'll want to look the part personally. Customers aren't going to be impressed if you turn up in a T-shirt and jeans, and nor would you be if you were attending in the same capacity. The chances are you would take your business elsewhere.

As a rough guide, it makes sense to dress one level smarter than the people who you want to become your customers. If you work on the premise that many trade show or exhibition visitors will arrive in smart-casual attire, you want to be wearing a suit or smart dress. Putting on a suit isn't going to earn you scores of new customers. But failing to do so could see you miss out on them.

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.

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.

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.

As an employer, you fully understand the importance of training, and of delivering key information to employees in order to improve their knowledge and understanding.

But sometimes it seems as if your staff members simply aren't engaged with your learning and development exercises. And given that you've invested time and money preparing training, with a view to boosting employee performance, this simply won't do.

Training your workforce is something that most businesses understand is a necessity. However, many view it as a chore - something that takes employees away from their daily tasks, and therefore impedes productivity. This view has led to many companies seeing the process as a one-off incident that can then be forgotten about.

However, simply training your workers in an aspect of the business once and then leaving it is foolish. The rapidly changing nature of most workplace skills means that if you don't keep everyone up-to-date on the latest developments, your business could become bloated and inefficient, falling behind its competitors.

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".

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.

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:

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.

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.

What's the point in getting to know consumers at trade shows if you never hear from them after the event? If you spend time talking to people at your stand or booth, trying to convince them to become a customer, you've got to do all you can to connect with them in the future.

Not everybody will buy goods or services from you immediately. In many cases, people like to take their time to think about purchases. They might like what you have to say, and find your business offering engaging, but prefer to let the dust settle and contemplate making an order in their own time.