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Ten Days in Manchester
An interactive intermediate business English course featuring Tony Marshall and May Hunter
Day 3
 Meet the People: Martin Mulloy

A Business Development Director

Attending trade fairs or conferences can often cost companies a lot of money. So, what are the advantages of going to a conference or trade fair?

As part of Martin Mulloy's job, he attends many fairs and conferences around the world. Listen to him to find out.

(none) Quiz
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Now test how much you understand about Day 3 >>


Interviewing Martin

As listen to Martin, try to identify some of the advantages that he mentions.

Why do you think they are advantages?

Audio The company

My name is Martin Mulloy. I've got a rather complex job title, in true BBC style, which is the Marketing and Business Development Director for BBC ELT. And ELT means English Language teaching. So we develop multi-media materials; television, video, cd roms, books, everything for people to learn English anywhere in the world.

Audio Trade fairs and conferences

We attend a lot of international trade fairs and conferences. To give you some examples, we go to the Frankfurt book fair, the Bologna book fair and one of the reasons we go there is we actually think it's incredibly cost effective. We're an international business, we have partners in forty, fifty countries and it's incredibly expensive if you go to each of those countries individually. But if you go to a trade fair, like Frankfurt, you can actually meet your partners from Turkey, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia all at the one event. I mean it's just so cost effective it's unbelievable, frankly.

Audio More advantages

There are other very significant benefits from attending trade fairs and conferences, particularly trade fairs. It's a unique opportunity to see what your competitors are doing. All the competition for your company is actually present at the same trade fair and in the normal course of working life it's very difficult to find out what your competitors are doing. But in a trade fair you can simply walk up to their stand, you can see their produce, you can see what they're doing, their activity, it's wonderful. Trade fairs tend to have a very friendly, open atmosphere so it's a really good opportunity to see what everybody's doing.


Did you work out some of the advantages? Well, test yourself with this quick quiz. Click to show whether you think each statement is an advantage or a disadvantage. Then click 'Check Answers' to find out if you were right.

They are places where you can have fun advantage
They help your staff relax advantage
You can see what your competitors are doing advantage


Martin's three top tips on attending a conference

Tip 1: Audio

I think there are several tips that should shape the thinking behind any planning for a conference. One is, you have to know what you are doing, what is your business doing, what is your company doing, what's its ambitions, what's its hopes, its aspirations and you have to have a very, very clear idea about that. If you don't know that you shouldn't be going anywhere, quite honestly.

Tip 2: Audio

Another tip is that you have to do your homework and preparation in advance. For instance, if you're going to a major fair like Frankfurt or in Beijing or in Cannes you should do as much preparation work in advance as possible. You should find out who is attending, what are the other companies, who are the other people, which organisations are attending?

Tip 3: Audio

Another tip; make your appointments in advance, people are incredibly busy at these trade fairs and if you go there thinking that you'll meet people in the corridors, or you'll meet people by chance, or you'll have a meeting or appointment on the wing, it won't happen, it simply won't happen. You really need to prepare in advance and organise fixed meetings and organise what that meeting is going to be about, so there's a clear focus.

Tip 4: Audio

Another tip is to actually set targets for the event. If you have staff or you yourself are going, you should have a clear set of targets that you wish to achieve by the time you walk out of that trade fair at the end and get back on that airplane. And it could be something along the lines of you want five or six or seven or eight successful meetings, you want to conclude a business deal, you want to clarify certain positions about our markets or whatever. But you should have clear targets and achieve them.

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