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Cranmore Park Blog

One of the most important parts of any trade show or exhibition is setting up. This might seem like an afterthought compared to the actual show, but it is not something that should ever be overlooked. A good setup can make the difference between a professional, well-run stand and one that is stressed and disorganised.

If your setup goes poorly, it is very easy to misplace things. You might end up rushing to get everything together and end up putting something to one side and forgetting about it, or having to forgo an entire section of your stall because you have run out of time and attendees have started coming to see what you have to offer.

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.

If you're hiring specialist, off-site facilities for your next important meeting or training session, you've got to make sure you get value for money. If you choose a suitable centre and room, which is equipped with everything you need, then it's much more likely you'll see the return on investment you hoped for and expected.

If you carry out a recce of training and meeting room facilities - whether in-person or online - you'll be able to eliminate some options straight away. It may be that they are too small, too dark, or simply ill-equipped to meet your organisations needs. If you're paying money to bring people off-site for training, or arranging an important meeting with clients and partners, you need to impress them with the venue, so it's no good settling for a second-rate option.

Planning a conference is not usually an easy task. There are a lot of things you will have to consider, which can be intimidating if it is the first time you've organised such an event. When it comes to choosing a venue, there are a number of things you should be thinking about, many of which are easy to miss.

Here are some of the things you need to make sure you take into consideration when it comes to choosing a venue for a conference:

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.

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.

You can get a lot out of a conference by simply showing up and putting as much effort as possible into learning and networking. You might think that you don't need to plan out anything, going with the flow on the day so that you can be available for anything that seems interesting to you.

However, while you might have a good conference with this attitude, you will almost certainly end up missing out on several element that you would like to have caught. This is where a schedule comes in handy, to make sure you get the most possible out of the event.

At every conference, trade show and exhibition, you will spend a surprisingly large amount of time networking. This is part of what these events are set up for, after all. They are great opportunities to get to know people in your industry and make valuable contacts that could improve your business and make your job a lot easier!

However, for every useful contact you find to network with, there could be five people who are unfortunately a waste of your time. It sounds impolite, but ultimately if you spend your time talking to someone who is not going to be a useful contact in the future then you may have missed an opportunity to forge a meaningful connection with someone else.

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.

Technology has grown at an astronomical pace in the last few years, which has surely affected your life in some way. Your business will work largely over the internet, your car will have the latest sat nav system and your phone will be capable of far more than you would have expected just two or three years ago.

However, it is often still difficult to understand how this new technology can specifically help you and your business. One of the clearest signs of this is the fact that every conference is not a sea of people using tablet PCs like the Apple iPad. Tablets are incredibly useful for conference-goers, yet surprisingly underused.

Networking is a key part of most conferences, but it is also the most difficult aspect to pull off successfully. It's simply not something many people are all that good at, unless you have spent a lot of time at a lot of events getting to know strangers.

The main thing that most people get wrong is not a small thing, such as your body language, your small talk or how polite you are. Instead, it is the larger goal that most networkers forget. Essentially, very few people actually understand why they are networking in the first place.

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.

With so many different stalls vying for the undivided attention of delegates, making your exhibition space stand out from the rest can be difficult. There many things you can do to give yourself the edge over nearby competitors, some of them more simple than others.

The main principle is putting the effort in. If you build it properly, they shall come. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your stand the one that people are drawn to first.

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.

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.

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: