I listened to a comment today which mirrored one made when I announced LizianEvents had become custodians of the Lincoln, Newark and Cheltenham WellBeing Shows. The comment: ‘I do not see how a change of ownership will make any difference’ requires addressing. The reader can decide if the observation has mileage.
My answer is within two words: change and resistance. If I instigated the whole of my three-year plan into a six-month timescale, our exhibitors would have cause for concern. The four main changes for the moment are 1) reduction in talk schedule 2) eliminating crossover of goods 3) removing stall concessions. 4) Conscious and consistent sharing.
1) Reduction and changes of talk programs. Talk schedules are reduced in time allowance, and number because I feel the present level of talks takes visitors away from the floor. This is a hard decision, I am aware many visitors enjoy the talks. For the time being; the rule is for talks to be restricted to 45-minute duration and a half hour gap between each talk will be made. Speakers who break the protocol do not benefit the show. The timing is essential for all speakers to understand. Nothing is worse for visitors who are waiting to attend a talk, and the previous speaker is hanging on to the room. The room needs to be serviced between each talk. And a speaker may need to set up for his presentation.
2) I have covered ‘crossover of goods’ in an earlier post titled ‘Specialist’. The positive emails received from visitors and exhibitors outweigh the ‘old school’ who chose not to exhibit with us because of this rule. It is now evident the majority agrees to this policy and clearly see merit in the change. Considering 46 exhibitors have confirmed for Lincoln and pre-booked for Newark, the consensus is the changes are welcome. I’ll take this opportunity to remind the reader once our 65 exhibitor limit is set, we have a show.
3) Removing Stall concessions. There are no free stands for charity or ‘good causes.’ No concessions for ‘celebrity’ exhibitors. No ‘paid to attend’ celebrity speakers. We are now on a level exhibition floor. No one has a financial advantage over another, this encourages unity and common purpose. Forget Chinese whispers or supposition, the prices set on the lists are the same for every exhibitor’s selection. Reader, therapist, retailer, author each have a category and all pay the same within the category.
4) We need to learn to share information. How can I describe an exhibitors (community member?) information if it is not sent? How can potential visitors see the information if it unavailable? Sharing social media benefits us all. Without these connections or reticence to become active in utilising these links, we disadvantage ourselves. I ask for short essays about our exhibitor’s work and services if nothing is received the problem is with the exhibitor, not the organiser. If my media infrastructure can really make a difference, why not use it? It seems to be crazy to commit twenty hours to a weekend and not spend two hours writing a resume of your work. Why do visitors decide to come to a venue? Well, firstly it is because of postal mail-outs, weekly e-mail campaigns, video campaigns and advertisement. And for all of this, the visitors still need to see you and your products and services. Yes, the promotions as mentioned above have an effect, but in truth, the visitor expects activity and interaction. Today’s promotional methodology is light years away from two weeks lineage in the local snooze-paper.
Other changes are high on my agenda, for example, quality of visitor information is a top priority. For the moment I’ll keep the how and why of these changes to myself. I am aware of plagiarism, and small steps will transform the status of our shows. ‘Change of ownership will not make any difference?’ Do not bet on it. The four initial adjustments are sufficient for the time being. Visitors will see administrative changes at the shows, although this to advantage LizianEvents infrastructure. Remember, I am moving away from oversubscribed and under-attended shows. My lens is sharply focused on visitors. My priority, once the doors are open, is visitor satisfaction.
If exhibitors (Community?) do not understand why I am making changes, or the reason for the adjustment is unclear, I will expect resistance due to ineffective communication. Let us consider resistance to change: Those who feel current methodology is working well may resist change and may choose a more traditional show atmosphere, I respect their choice. Their fear of the unknown may make them feel secure within a tradition. I understand their thoughts and have no intention of wasting time persuading them to consider the changes. People become connected to tradition and nostalgia, this is expected and accepted. I will not attempt to convince someone to change to a different way because this could result in further complications.
For examples: 1) The situation when someone feels they will be worse off because of new methods. 2) Feelings of resentment spread like wildfire and undermine the purpose of the streamlining. 3) Half-hearted acceptance, resistance or negative attitude affects everyone who spends hard earned money to pay their fee. 4) Those who bemoan and/or disparage adjustments also slight and undermine exhibitors who embellish the shifts to new beginnings. We can work and grow with a common purpose, those who undermine our objective of success are not welcome. We do not need wasps in a beehive.
Working together with a common purpose results in success. Whether we consider our personal life, workplace or home, the axiom holds true. Clear and transparent policies establish the parameters to work within. Consider our events as a home in which a family thrives, and we will become successful in attaining our objective. ‘Change of ownership will not make any difference?’ Do not bet on it.
Clarity is essential to culturing a symbiotic relationship between, organiser, exhibitor and visitors. Without transparency, the danger is some may feel there is a bias toward individuals or category. Not from my perspective; I desire to help exhibitors cover overheads and enter into profit. We cannot enjoy a sustainable and long-term business relationship without prosperity. Again whether home, work or social interaction, a collective purpose is a way to success. I intend to build an enviable reputation. Transparency, integrity and mutual respect are key to profit and profit are the lifeblood of business. ‘Change of ownership will not make any difference?’ Do not bet on it.
You will notice I am using the (community?) bracket after the word exhibitor. Liz and I like this idea of being ‘Community’ based. What do you think?