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The benefits of holding networking sessions during an event

Business delegates networking at West ParkAre you currently planning your content and agenda for an upcoming business event? Have you thought about holding a networking session? Here’s why they’re useful:

They break the day up

If your event is going to last for a couple of hours or longer, having the delegates sat in one room while you present to them can get tedious, no matter how good your presentation is! Holding a networking session during the event can allow them to relax and top up their concentration levels.

If a delegate sees an agenda beforehand and no breaks or networking sessions are listed, it may even put them off attending. A brief change of scenery, some refreshments and the opportunity to network with like-minded people is likely to appeal to most of your audience.

Delegates can mix

Those attending your event may well have similar interests, at least in a professional capacity. The organisations they work for may share a similar customer base or they may have similar job roles. Networking sessions are an excellent opportunity for people to swap ideas and share stories regarding the work they’ve been doing. It also gives them chance to discuss their thoughts on the event you’re holding, so get ready to do some eavesdropping!

You can get to know your audience

Networking sessions can also be beneficial for you as the event organiser. So you’ve organised the event, sent out invites electronically but have never met any of your audience before in person. What grabs their attention? Which presenting style should you use to appeal to them? Holding a networking session at the start of your event can be vital to understand the types of personality you will be presenting to. This can then allow you to tweak your presenting style and perhaps even your content accordingly. If it’s an event to drive sales and you have several delegates asking you about a particular product, you will have an advantage before you’ve even started.

Don’t worry too much about how many sessions you include, if your event is over a full day you may even wish to have one in the morning, one during lunch and one to conclude. Here at West Park, we can supply refreshments and provide an environment for comfortable networking sessions.

Read The benefits of holding networking sessions during an event…

Top tips for delivering a presentation to remember

A lady delivers a presentation in front of West Park delegates. Are you presenting something to your colleagues or customers at an upcoming conference? It doesn’t matter who your audience are, you’ll want your presentation to be informative, engaging, professional and enjoyable. We’ve put together our top tips for delivering a great presentation:

Make it relevant to your audience

Your audience will be hoping to take away something valuable from what you’re presenting so it’s important to make the content relevant to their expectations. If you’ve given them an idea of what the presentation is about in a pre-prepared agenda, you’ll need to stick to it. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience and think about what would make you sit up and take notice.

Use engaging content

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘Death by PowerPoint’? You definitely don’t want your audience to be whispering it between themselves during your presentation! While your content needs to be informative, you can give it an edge with some pictures and funky images. Infographics are a great way to convey any stats you’d like to share. If you have a design team in your organisation, ask them for advice on making your presentation stand out.

Think about what you need

Is a projector and PowerPoint all you need? Maybe you require other materials such as hand-outs for your audience to take away with them or exercises for them to complete on the day. If you have a physical demonstration to make, some volunteers could help to bring that presentation to life! Be sure to prepare all of your equipment and resources in advance so you’re not rushing round five minutes before everyone enters the room!

Practise, practise, practise!

In order to get the delivery of your presentation spot on, regular practise before the big day is essential! This will give you opportunities to improve the flow and also to calm your nerves. Ask your friends or family to sit through your presentation with you and then take their feedback on board. Make small changes until you’re completely happy, and then continue to practise the final version.

If you’re feeling nervous about your presentation, consider the steps above and prepare as much as possible. A great presentation could help you hit that sales target or give your employees some much needed inspiration!

If you’re looking for somewhere to hold your conference, here at West Park we have the latest equipment and a wide range of catering facilities on offer, so all you’ll need to worry about is preparing your presentation.

Read Top tips for delivering a presentation to remember…

Planning your Hogmanay celebration

Filled champagne flutes to celebrate the party season Hogmanay is not too far away! Have you decided how you’re going to celebrate the beginning of the New Year yet? A large part of your decision could depend on what your friends and family have planned, but we’ve put together some ideas for you to take that hassle out of thinking up something to do:

Hold your very own party

Do the venues and entertainment offers not quite match your tastes? Why not have it your own way and hold your own party? Draw up a guest list, sort the food and drink, arrange some entertainment, and you’re good to go! The worst part about hosting your own party will be cleaning up the mess on 1 January! To avoid this, you could consider booking out a function room and enjoy the best of both worlds!

Attend a party or a club night

You’ll have plenty of options if you feel like going out to dance the night away for Hogmanay. Your preference might be somewhere local or if you fancy something different you could venture further away and even book a hotel for the night. You could bring in the new year with our ‘Wild Card at West Park’ Hogmanay Hoolie! We’ll have a great selection of music on offer.

Go to a firework display

Did you miss out on Bonfire Night in November? Hogmanay could be a great time to catch up on those amazing firework displays you didn’t get to see. There are plenty of events on around Scotland to be able to enjoy a memorable combination of beautiful fireworks and Hogmanay entertainment.

Have a night in

Don’t fancy venturing out on a cold winter night? There will be plenty of entertainment on TV to keep you occupied if you’re staying in. You might want to enjoy some quality time with the family or invite a couple of friends round for a more low-key Hogmanay celebration.

Whichever option you choose, make sure your Hogmanay celebration is one to remember!

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Top tips for putting together an agenda for your conference

A long conference table with notepad and pen Are you struggling for ideas on how to put together an agenda for an upcoming conference? You’ll want to make sure it covers everything required, as well as appealing to the relevant audience. We’ve put together our top tips for you to consider:

Think about the purpose

What is the purpose of the conference and what would you like the outcome to be? This needs to be at the forefront of your thinking when you’re planning in the topics of discussion to make sure everything is covered in your agenda. If you’re conveying a key message throughout, you’ll want the delegates to leave with this message in their mind.

Keep it clear and concise

People reading the agenda will want it to be brief. They’ll want to know what’s happening and when. A brief description for each section will normally suffice. On your agenda the start and end time should be made clear so that delegates can plan their travel accordingly. Prompt start? Ask your delegates to arrive 15-30 minutes early; you don’t want to be hanging around waiting for people to turn up.

Include regular refreshment breaks 

In order to ensure your delegates stay mentally fresh throughout the day, regular refreshment breaks are essential, in addition to interesting content and topics of discussion. If your conference is for a full day, an hour’s lunch break in addition to two or three 10-20 minute tea and coffee breaks throughout the day should be enough. At West Park your delegates will be able to stretch their legs and clear their minds in our garden, while enjoying refreshments.

Leave spare time

Although you’ll want your agenda to be as accurate as possible, leaving yourself some spare time is likely to be beneficial. If a discussion is going on longer than planned, you’ll be covered. It’s better for the conference to finish slightly earlier than expected rather than later.

The key for putting together an effective agenda is to keep your audience in mind at all times, and to use it to emphasise the benefits of attending.

Read Top tips for putting together an agenda for your conference…

Why Scotland is great for a group tour in summer 2015

Edinburgh cityscape If you are looking to arrange a tour for your clients next summer, why not consider a trip to Scotland? There’s plenty on offer to enjoy for people of all ages:

St Andrews

Here at West Park we’re only a short journey away from the popular, historic town of St Andrews, which has something on offer for just about everyone! Known as the home of golf, the British Golf Museum is a must visit for all golf fans. There are also two beaches to choose from as well as an aquarium, several other museums and some beautiful parks and gardens for people to take in the scenery.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (7-31 August)

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world! From musicals to opera, dance and comedy, the Fringe is all about having fun and being creative! It’s a great experience and the 2015 festival is the next opportunity to view all the exciting new talent from across the world.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (7-29 August)

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is all about music, ceremony, theatre and dance! With an existing audience in the hundreds of thousands, this world famous event should be on the ‘to do list’ of anyone planning to visit Scotland during the summer.

Glamis Castle, Broughty Castle Museum and Scone Palace

If you’re staying at West Park, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a wide range of stunning castles to visit in the local area. Glamis Castle, Broughty Castle Museum and Scone Palace are all full of fascinating history and are well worth a tour!

Discovery Point

Getting on-board the ship at Discovery Point is a great family day out for adventure seekers. Visitors will be able to learn about the history of the Royal Research Ship by interacting with the impressive audio-visual equipment, and will then be able to relax in the on-site café.

If you’re currently planning your tour for next summer, Scotland has more than enough to offer to keep your group intrigued and excited! If you’re thinking about accommodation, we offer affordable en-suite rooms from just £37 per night throughout June, July and August.

Read Why Scotland is great for a group tour in summer 2015…
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