As a Business Developer, I often have exhibitor stands at conferences and industry shows all over the UK to raise the profile of Personnel Checks in our target markets. Last month, I attended the Health+Care Show 2015, a very popular health & social care event that attracts over 7,000 delegates each year. The event is held at the Excel Exhibition and Conference Centre, an impressive, almost futuristic looking building perched on the banks of the River Thames. Attending a multi-day event can be quite a chaotic experience particularly the building and subsequent dismantling of your exhibition stand.
After a 3-and-a-half hour journey, I arrived at the Excel at 5pm the day before the event opened its doors. The hall was, for all intents a purposes, a construction site! The boisterous rumble of fork lift trucks buzzing around the hall is interrupted by the piercing squeal of power drills as workmen frantically assemble the exhibitor stands. Surveying the scene, it was difficult to see how the hall would be ready in time for the following morning’s exhibition.
I proceeded to my stand which was an empty white shell. As a fairly uncreative person, making an empty white shell look like a welcoming exhibition stand does not come so naturally to me, so I acquired the help of a colleague to handle all that. I just did as I was told which was fine by me! We dressed the stand and left the hall at around 7.00pm, which was still bustling with activity.
The following morning was a stressful affair. Back home in sunny Lancashire the 8 mile commute to work takes a mere 20 minutes, so I was rather ruffled when it took me an hour-and-a-half to travel just 5 miles! However, when I eventually arrived at the Excel I was stunned to see the bomb-site I had left a matter of hours earlier had been transformed into a wonderfully presented exhibition hall. Rows upon rows of well-groomed exhibitions stands filled the huge hall, all handing out treats from pens & pencils to flavoured popcorn! The large presentation theatres lined the hall, and were filled with delegates that had come to see the many esteemed speakers on the itinerary.
I manned my stand as visitors started to sift through the door. I introduced myself to my neighbouring exhibitors and perched myself on my stool in anticipation. It didn’t take long for the hall fill up with eager delegates keen to see what was on offer. I had some fantastic conversations with people from all walks of life. It was great hearing their stories and hearing people talk about their work with such enthusiasm.
I encountered everyone from brand new start-up businesses to well established international PLC’s. I had visits from care home managers, GP’s, publishers of medical literature, healthcare providers, charities, mental health professionals and many more. The entries for our free DBS check competition were coming in thick and fast and people were helping themselves to our complimentary pens and drinks coasters. Both delegates and exhibitors were stopping by to find out about Personnel Checks and what we can offer them.
Among the speakers the three main UK political parties were well represented, with the likes of Tory MP Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health), Labour’s Andy Burnham (Shadow Secretary of State for Health) and Liberal Democrat Leadership Candidate, Norman Lamb, all scheduled to appear.
The 2 day event absolutely flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to dismantle the stand which had been my home for the past 48 hours. I picked up my wedge of newly acquired business cards and left over literature and headed home. Although exhausting, the Health+Care Show 2015 was a great success and it was a pleasure to be in attendance. It’s so refreshing to get out and about and meet clients face-to-face.
After another successful event I have returned to sunny East Lancashire to the Personnel Checks Head Office, where I contacted all the new contacts I made at the event. It is great to chat to these people again and to hear what they enjoyed about the conference and discuss some of the brilliant speakers they saw.
All that remains is to draw the winning business card and notify the lucky winner of five free DBS checks, which is a very pleasant way to round off another successful event.