This blog post has been written by Laken Cott, Business Development Coordinator in the Kidz Team at Disabled Living. She talks about planning an exhibition.
Whenever you see an exhibition, concert or show advertised you either think, “Oh I fancy going to that!” Or you might just completely dismiss it because it’s not your cup of tea. However when you turn up on the day, queuing up with your tickets excited to see what its like through them doors, you have probably never thought what actually goes into making the experience you’re about to explore – because I know I never did… Well not until I started working for Disabled Living.
Then and now: Business Admin to Business Development Coordinator
Let me take you back 6 years ago to that moody 16-year-old, who left college and jumped into something I never thought would’ve been a route I’d take – Business Admin. I always thought I would end up with a career in nursing. However, in hindsight I don’t think I would have the stomach for cuts and blood so that route was never going to work for me!
I started with Disabled Living as an apprentice studying business administration and at that time I worked a day each week on each team – Kidz to Adultz, Bladder and Bowel UK, Equipz and Training. It was great working across all teams, especially as a new member of staff as you gained much more knowledge on the charity and an insight to what the teams were about and the services they offered. As time went on I became much more involved with the ‘Kidz Team’ (still supported other teams when required). And I became a Business Development Coordinator (yay promotion – all that hard work was paying off).
As I got more involved with the Kidz Team, I was overwhelmed at the work that went on in the background planning an exhibition as it was never really something I had thought of. My initial thought was, you just turn up on the day and everything was prepared for you (even though I knew it wasn’t). Oh boy was I wrong… I have created a little check list of some of the things you need to think about when planning an exhibition.
Is there a target audience for potential visitors and exhibitors? Who will your exhibition be aimed at? Is there anything like it already out there?
Where will this exhibition be held? Does the venue meet your criteria and all the requirements for your target audience? Cost? Space required? Parking? Do they have availability for the dates you require? All these things need to be considered prior to the event which will help you filter through available venues.
Who will organise the exhibitions? Team work is key, if you don’t have a team you won’t have an exhibition: who will deal with any information requests, stand bookings, organising show guides, updating web pages, posting on social media, travel and accommodation, build up, exhibition, breakdown etc to ensure the event runs smoothly and according to plan.
Shell Scheme & Carpet
Once you have a venue you need to make sure the shell scheme company is available to design your floor plans, lay the carpet and build the shell scheme stands, organise electrics… what’s an exhibition with no stands?
Now you have the floor plans in place, you need to fill the space, releasing the floor plans to potential exhibitors and researching to find new relevant companies to link with who may find the exhibition beneficial.
Insurance, medical cover, appropriate signage etc.
All these have to be taken in to consideration and cover booked appropriately.
Have a suitable marketing plan in place to ensure your audience are aware the events are taking place! Research is key, make sure you reach the right people to encourage visitors to attend, let them know we are here to help them find what they are looking for. A busy event means happy exhibitors; good quality and relevant exhibitors means happy visitors, if you get this right then you potentially have an event that could grow year on year!
There is a lot more hard work that goes on in the background of planning an exhibition and organising the Kidz to Adultz events. However all the hard work is so worth while. From working in the office on the events, floor plan etc to actually seeing and experiencing an event in person is a completely different experience. This is what makes all the hard work so much more rewarding. Especially when you see the event first hand, all the parents, children and young adults, and of course the professionals who support them getting all the advice and information they need to improve their independence in day to day life.
They say everything happens for a reason – and nursing was never meant for me as I can happily say I love my job!
If you made it to the end – thanks for reading.