Food for thought: Finding momentum

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Dr Rob Yeung, Psychologist, author and executive coach, Talentspace "Imagine it’s the day after the biggest event you’ve ever run. How do you think you might feel? Exhilarated and happy? Or actually a bit lost or even glum? If you’ve ever felt a bit down, don’t worry because you’re not alone. More than a few people have said they feel not so much relieved to have completed a major event as sad that it’s over. This kind of ‘post-show blues’ can happen to people from all walks of life – athletes after competing in the race of a lifetime, sales people who have been gearing up for a make-or-break pitch, even brides who have been obsessing over the minutiae of their big day. But why? Psychologists have observed people who are working towards meaningful goals may often experience a state of ‘flow’. When experiencing flow, time whizzes by. It’s not a feeling of happiness so much as a sense of being challenged, and feeling we’re rising to that challenge. So when you’re planning and working towards a big event, time can actually pass by much more quickly and satisfyingly. The moment you finish that big event, it can be natural to feel a big chunk of your life has disappeared. This is particularly true if you’re the kind of driven person who likes keeping busy; then you may feel empty and be wondering what’s next. To reduce the post-show slump, here are a few tips. Firstly, review lessons from the big event. Rather than rest on your laurels, use the quieter period after a big event to think about what went well or could have been better. Another way forward is to focus on others (and not yourself). Make an effort to coach, guide and advise your perhaps less experienced colleagues. You’ll not only take your mind off how you’re feeling but get a boost from knowing you’re helping others too. Thirdly, plan your social life. Make a few calls, contact friends and family and keep yourself busy. When work is frantic, many of us neglect loved ones, so use the time after an event to reconnect socially." – Dr Rob Yeung is also author of E is for Exceptional: The New Science of Success (Pan Books). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Soraya Gadelrab, Event manager, Speciality and Fine Food Fair, Fresh Montgomery"Post-show blues is one of the trickiest issues facing our industry. Most people working in the exhibition industry thrive on the excitement of working towards a big project and it is the adrenaline that keeps them going through every hurdle until completion. This is where post-show blues kicks in and I know I and my colleagues have suffered differently from this over the years. Like most issues, the first step is to recognise the problem. One of my team recently told me she had ‘withdrawal symptoms’ from Speciality and Fine Food Fair a few days after it finished. She felt down and demotivated. The trick here is not to give people time to dwell on their ‘loss’ but to celebrate and reward their recent achievements, then promptly set them new challenges while the sweet taste of success is still in their mouths. From a marketing point of view, these new challenges can often be tasking someone with what could be one of the most important elements for the next campaign, for example targeting big-name speakers for a feature and demonstrating the benefits of starting this early and drawing on the experience of the last cycle. For sales it’s different. Sales people are used to working to targets but sometimes find this period to be ‘downtime’. As a manager it is imperative to get the momentum going from early in the cycle, so setting the right challenging yet achievable targets is essential. I also find this to be a good time to carry out personal reviews and objective setting to give them something to focus on. Often I’ll challenge them with projects outside of their day-to-day tasks to ensure their role is varied and they don’t get stuck in a rut. Of course company structure can also help. At Fresh Montgomery we use the end of a show cycle as a time to change teams and rotate staff onto new projects. We find this helps to stimulate people as they see a new challenge ahead of them."  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sarah Lawrence, Event director, Pure London, i2i Events Group "Post-show is a great time to reflect on how we performed and to see if we have delivered against objectives. For us, it fills in the gaps as to what has worked well and what can be improved for next season. Indeed, it also helps us to shout about our great successes. The energy levels need to remain high post-show as we rebook onsite and then re-edit/confirm and place the specific brands and stands. On a biannual event there is about 48 hours of downtime post-show and then we are off again. We are keen to capture the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ post-show from all team members and run a wash-up meeting directly after to be sure we don’t miss this very timely feedback. We also conduct post-show surveys with exhibitors and buyers, as well as gather feedback onsite. It is increasingly critical to react to market needs swiftly and with a six-month season cycle, the fashion market moves incredibly fast. Pure needs to reflect these changes by re-editing floor plans, new initiatives and assessing what buyers will want for the coming season. Where to focus the strategy becomes increasingly clear post-show as we evaluate feedback and weave this into our long-term international and growth plans. Digital plays an increasingly important role to support shows 365 days of the year and the brand’s online presence never has the ‘post-show blues’ as it is constantly updated and available. It’s clear our brands are keen to look at new web opportunities and we will continue developing this part of our strategy. Operationally, post-show is the time to reevaluate the delivery for next season. The sales team takes onsite client feedback and we reconfigure and edit the products into adjacent brands by style, price points and look and feel, to ensure we are moving forward. Staff are of course motivated to deliver a great show, but after service time is vital, so our sales team is incentivised to deliver against rebooking in the month after the show and our marketing and operations teams are already focused on the next season’s event."- This was first published in the October edition of EN. Any comments? Email exhibitionnews@mashmedia.net
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