Meetings are a necessary evil of any business, but they can easily suck away everyone’s valuable time. With a few careful choices in meeting planning, a savvy leader can ensure everyone gets the information they need, without wasting the day.
#1: Schedule only what you need. Rather than the usual thirty minute or hour block, go with 15 minutes, or even less. Meetings expand to fill their allotted time.
#2: Don’t sit down. Getting comfortable around the conference table invites everyone to accept a longer meeting. Stand or walk, and you’ll get the meeting done on time.
#3: Sound the alarm. Visibly set a timer, and everyone will be more likely to keep on-task and on- When the alarm signals the end of the meeting, that’s it. The meeting is over.
#4: Expect readiness. Send out a reminder email the day before the meeting. Ask everyone to bring their fully-formed thoughts about the subject at hand. Everyone should come prepared with their thoughts and convey them succinctly.
#5: Form an action plan. Meetings should help everyone figure something out and create a plan going forward that swings into action as soon as the meeting is over. Make it clear who will do what and when it will be complete.
#6: Follow up. Check in on the action points soon after they are due. Don’t hold another meeting for this – simply handle it by spending a few minutes with each person to find out where they are on the tasks. Update others via email.
Streamlined gatherings mean everyone will walk away with the information they need but no one will be wasting time around the conference table.
Convention season has arrived! Whether it is a Regional, State, National or International convention – it is a great opportunity to meet and network with other professionals in the Fair Industry. Many times the decision to attend a convention or conference is based on “costs” … registration, travel, lodging, meals, etc. In reality, the decision should be made on content, networking opportunities, trade show expo vendors, and learning about industry trends.
So, how do you justify being away from the day to day operations of the fairgrounds to attend a convention? Follow along and you’ll have all the right reasons and maybe even decide to take some Fair Staff with you!
Reason #1 – Program Content of the Event
Convention Organizers spend hours, yes hours and many months, identifying which topics/speakers to present. It is their goal to make sure that your registration fee justifies the expense for your time away from the office, travel expenses and possibly closing your office in your absence, and maybe bringing other staff members to the convention, in order to attend their convention.
Reason #2 – Networking
Conventions offer a wide range of networking opportunities during sessions, meals, social functions. If you attend a convention and come away without meeting new people, then you aren’t really networking – you’re just visiting with friends which isn’t bad…..it’s just not the only reason to attend a convention. Networking allows you to learn about new acts, exhibits, funds, etc. In many instances, you’ll find someone who is or has experienced the exact same issue you are dealing with right now.
Reason #3 – Trade Show Expo Vendors
The trade show at any convention will be filled with vendors who believe they have a solution or opportunity for your Fair – and they do – if not today then they’ll be of value to you in the future. To make your trade show visit more valuable, identify what products and/or services your fair can use. Scan the list of vendors in advance and have a plan to make sure you spend some time with their staff in their booth. Many times the vendors will offer a “convention only” price for their product/service. Take advantage of this – it’s good financial sense if their product or service is something you’ll be using soon.
Reason #4 – Learning About Industry Trends
Review the program material to identify what industry trends are being discussed – I can assure you that there will be one topic at the event that you and your organization/facility are either working on or will be working on in the near future.
Here is another tip to get the most out of your convention, volunteer to be a part of the event: speak, moderate a round table or a presentation, assist with check in, or participate on a committee that has some role/function at the convention. You’ll meet other Fair Industry professionals, make new friends, and learn so much more than you could from just attending a convention. Check with the convention organizers for volunteer opportunities.
So there it is, my 4 reasons to attend a convention or conference: Program Content, Networking, Trade Show and Industry Trends. Do you have other reasons? If so, I’d love to hear from you so send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll see you at a convention real soon!
County Fair Definitions:
According to Webster: a fair usually held annually at a set location in a county especially to exhibit local agricultural products and livestock.
Wikipedia’s definition of Fairs: A fair (archaic: faire or fayre) is a gathering of people for a variety of entertainment or commercial activities. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary with scheduled times lasting from an afternoon to several weeks.
Dictionary.com defines a fair as:
1. an exhibition, usually competitive, of farm products, livestock, etc., often combined in the U.S. with entertainment and held annually by a county or state.
2. a periodic gathering of buyers and sellers in an appointed place.
3. an exposition in which different exhibitors participate, sometimes with the purpose of buying or selling: a science fair.
4. an exhibition and sale of articles to raise money, often for some charitable purpose.
Fairs are so much more. A County Fair is a community’s celebration of their accomplishments, a place to reconnect with friends, learn about a new product, be entertained, or just sit and relax.
Any event can have food stands, vendors selling products/services, carnival rides, entertainment, and even competitions (who hasn’t heard of the Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island every July 4th?).
In reality, many events call themselves “fairs”, however, most lack what makes a county fair unique – and that’s their competitive exhibits.
I started my Fair Industry career when I was in 4-H and FFA. I was a member of 4-H for 9 years and FFA for 3 years. I showed some livestock and also participated in what was called “home arts” and can now be considered hobby, arts/crafts, etc..
We would spend all year long preparing our items for the annual county fair. The excitement of completing the item, and then taking it to the Fair to drop it off for judging, getting our animals ready for the Fair, packing up all the feed and grooming items. And then it was off to the Fair.
Opening day we anxiously waited for the exhibit buildings to open to see what our items had won….or in some cases didn’t win. Either way, it was always exciting to see our item “on display” at the Fair!
And that is truly what makes a county fair unique.
Have you heard of Sketchup.com? It’s a free software you can use for creating floor plans, layouts, exhibits, etc. If you don’t have the budget for a CAD (computer aided design) software program, this is a great alternative with many bells and whistles. You can create 3D layouts as well. Imagine working with your team in designing a new layout for your exhibit building, or providing your team with an exact layout of how the building will look. You can use to distribute to vendors so they will know where their location is.
This tool can also be used whenever you would provide a layout to anyone – including those who rent your facilities. You can add in this service for an additional fee, or as an added benefit, to a promoter renting your facilities.
Go here to check it out: http://www.sketchup.com/