Why you should attend trade shows & join organisations
From large generalist event trade shows to small local government specific conferences, event shows and meet ups are a must for any local government events officer. Regardless of whether your department can justify having a stand, just being present has heaps of benefits.
The same applies to signing up to organisations such as LAEOG or NOEA and becoming an active member. In the world of events things move quickly enough, throw the ever changing and ever more litigious world of local government into the mix and it’s hard to see how anyone can truly keep up.
Attending events and becoming part of an active community of individuals in your field will bring you additional knowledge, but also give you a place to fact check what you already know.
Why go to events?
- Less formal: Events such as EPS (Event Production Show) are a great place to meet some of the people you’ve leased land to in a much more informal setting. A one-on-one meeting where prices are being discussed and regulations laid down is a less easy place to build the types of relationships that bring organisers back to you time and again. Visit their stand and say hello!
- Business development: Parks revenue is down, resources are ever more limited and we’re hearing that events officers are often being pushed to act more commercially and do more business development. Not many people are comfortable picking up the phone and cold calling a business, so why not visit some of the big names informally at a trade show. Show an interest in what they are doing, ask questions about their event that will help you attract them to your district later on. Finally, if you think you have the right space, tell them about it there and then and leave your contact details.
- Improve industry knowledge: there are often endless talks at tradeshows, get hold of a programme before you go and look over the topics. Make a plan to listen to the ones that will help you. If it’s a large event, look out for stands such as the LAEOG (Local Authority Event Organisers Group) one at the last EPS which is specialist and applies directly to you. Not only will they be discussing the issues that are most prevalent in your industry right now, you will likely make some new contacts that you can call on in the future if you are stuck.
Why join a community
- Contacts: Whilst some counties have good inter-district relationships, you can never have enough contacts in your field. It may be that a council at the other end of the UK is of a similar size, has similar spaces and faces the same troubles.
- Fact-check and bench mark: Whether you’re struggling to know what prices to charge, or you can’t get the buy in you need from a member of the SAG (Safety Advisory Group), being part of a forum will allow you to quiz others on what they do. Often organisations will have forum pages online and they will certainly have annual meet ups. Here you can discuss how multiple people do it and take away or even tailor the best option for you.
- Get involved: It’s always unnerving people the new face at a party, but you will likely have knowledge that someone else needs. If you see someone else post a question and you have an answer or an opinion, go for it! Whilst certain legislation needs an exact action, often the lines can be blurred and there isn’t a ‘wrong answer’.
Overall, what do you have to lose? Organisations often require as much from you as you are able to give, so there’s usually no fixed commitment. Plus, I’m not saying you should throw aside time sensitive work and hit up ten events during your busiest summer months, luckily these things will often take place in the quieter part of the year. Just if you have the time, get permission, expense your travel and you will find you probably enjoy yourself! Couple this with some new contacts and an answer to your recent headache, you’ll likely be glad you went and eager to sign up for the following year.