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.
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.
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
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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.
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?
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.
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.