01.02.2016

It takes more than a smiling face to bring a stand to life

Pictured above from the left: Victoria Davis and Chloe Millington from TAEFL, Linda Lewis of Share Radio and Ellie Grice (TAEFL)

For many of the TAEFL team involved in Going Global 2015 at London Olympia, the event was the first trade show we had taken part in. We hadn’t quite realised just how much organising it would take before the opening on the 3rd of December. Simply packing up the TAEFL pop-up display and turning up on the day was far from reality. Everything from branded USBs to furniture for the stand needed to be ordered, and we only had a few weeks to go!

After a crazy couple of weeks and feeling like we never wanted to see a quote for express branded USBs again, it was suddenly the day before the show. Even packing up the car proved to be difficult as we had overestimated the space in Victoria’s tiny boot, but before long we had arrived at London Olympia.

As we walked into the venue on the Wednesday afternoon , it was evident that the organisers had a long night ahead of them. Carpets had barely started to be laid and there was a lot of vacuuming to be done. However, we were assured by the morning of the show’s opening that the exhibition arena would be completely transformed. Despite having practised taking the big TAEFL pop up down and putting it back up again in the Aston office, things didn’t run quite as smoothly as we had hoped! It took a few attempts and a lot of laughing, but we eventually managed to get it the right way up!

By the morning of the show I was beginning to feel quite nervous. It was my first experience of this kind of event and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Still feeling fairly new to the company, having joined in August, I didn’t feel entirely confident in my ability to answer questions. What if I gave the wrong information or was unable to answer all together? Once I had summed up the courage to approach a visitor to the stand, I realised that actually I did know more about TAEFL than I thought. All I had to do was take a moment to gather my words and make sure I didn’t talk at them for too long. On a personal level I felt that the exercise was an important lesson: explaining the same concept several times allowed it to actually become clearer in my own mind at the same time.

Great benefit in TAEFL being ‘out there’ meeting the public

We found a real benefit in meeting new and existing customers at the event. It was great to be on the floor chatting to them and finding out what they do. I found a large number of SMEs are increasingly interested in exporting to Nigeria, for example. The fact that we highlighted that we have already supported companies trading there drew visitors in.

Olympia had another advantage. The events that we hold at our offices in Aston are attended largely by banks and introducers, so it was a good opportunity to speak to SMEs and other people we wouldn’t usually meet all at the same time.

On Friday, Linda Lewis from Share Radio came to the event to interview Mark for her Company Casebook show. In general, Friday was a much quieter day in terms of footfall, so her presence created a bit more of a buzz around the stand. I really enjoyed being interviewed for radio, even if I was less sure about my recording voice!

It is generally accepted that the follow-up is more important than the event itself. Effectively utilising the contacts you have made will be what determines success and that’s what we have to do now.

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