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International Confex

International Confex: Impressions from the Exhibition Floor

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Before attending Confex this year I made some research online to see who is exhibiting. The way I did it was by using the #loveconfex on twitter. That way I could interact with exhibitors and see who is original enough to render a visit. I also knew that I am going to meet old colleagues and catch up on their news and I was excited to meet new ones and discover something innovative.

The highlights from the buzzing and colourful exhibition floor:

When I first entered the exhibition I had to go through a short “Confex Tag Cloud Tunel” and had the option to talk into the “catch box”- a type of throwable microphone. I like this fantastic idea of getting the attendees engaged from the first moment they enter the exhibition floor.

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Pick ‘n’ mix is one of my favourite concepts and I met these guys already at other exhibitions. The ‘self-service’ sweets station is a popular addition to almost every event, be it corporate or leisure. I will definitely book these guys for one of my future events.

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It seemed that the stand of the Old Manor Hotel was the busiest at the exhibition. They literally brought the hotel with them. While Matthew the Chef served salmon canapés the visitors could participate in a shooting game, which is also one of the outdoor activities offered at the hotel in cooperation with the incentive company Teampursuits. If there would be the “most creative stand award” the Old Manor will have my vote.

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Another great idea was of Incredible Artists Company and their Champaign Hostess. Placing one hostess by the entrance will WOW the attendees and can be a good ice breaker at a party. Looks very luxurious isn’t it?

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The networking lounge/coffee bar was another good idea and was centrally located. Once I even spotted the Confex team performing.

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Event branding is always a good idea, especially when it’s on chocolate!

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Other companies I was happy to see were eventbrite, Destination Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast and got some updates on their new projects and venues.

I really wish that the exhibition will be one day longer. There were so many talks and panel discussions I wanted to attend but at the same time it was important for me to visit some of the exhibitors and see friends and colleagues from the industry. I hope everyone enjoyed the exhibition and took the most out of it!

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International Confex: What I learned from Karren Brady

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After visiting the International Confex Exhibtion in Olympia London last week Wednesday and Thursday I feel even more motivated and inspired to work in this fast-pace, dynamic and vibrant industry. If you are not familiar with the Confex, it is a 2-day exhibition in London for event professionals. Venues, destinations, associations, catering, technology and other service providers for the industry present there while seminars and panel discussions on current topics take place simultaneously.

My days were packed with information, seminars, panel discussions, speeches and great networking. I have so much to share with you so I decided to split my posts into several posts covering different topics. I start with the highlight of the Confex which was the keynote speech of Karren Brady. She is one of the most prominent business women in the UK and the vice chairman of West Ham United FC. To many she is also known as Lord Sugar’s assistant at The Apprentice. I love the show because it provides a good business sense regardless the industry you are in. My favourite episode from last season was when the two teams were given the task to organise corporate away days. It was not as easy as it sounds and the teams faced many challenges. It’s a classic for every event planner. (I attach the video in the end of the post).

Back to the talk. In a packed conference hall she shared her principles and values of success. Some of the points I noted down:

–          Leadership is not management. She added that real leadership is how you behave when faced with unknown situation and quoted Martin Luther King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.

–          Have passion, pride and respect.

–          She highlighted that staff is the core of every business and talked about the importance of motivating the staff in different positions within the organisation. She emphasised that the staff has to know everything about the business and gave an example of her football players selling tickets in the ticket office.

–          Her core values are: dedication, commitment, being profitable and the employer of choice.

–          She said that one has to be open minded to do things in new way.

–          She talked about ambition and here mentioned Lord Sugar. He has everything, private jets, yachts, houses, you name it but he always worked hard to stay on top. She said that when they film The Apprentice episodes, he is the first to come in the morning and the last to leave. The challenge of success is not only to be on top, but also to survive and thrive once you are there.

–          She advised to look at other industries and learn from other successful people.

–          She concluded with the key elements of success: determination, attitude, direction and being positive.