Monday, 19 October 2015

Reporting on my first time as a speaker and exhibitor at the Office* show last week...

Oh my! I had a whale of a time last week....

I was invited, back in about April, to be a speaker within the Seminar programme at the Office* show in London, which took place on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 October. Just one week before the show, I was asked if I could cover someone else's slot in the programme too - so I was booked for two sessions, plus I had a stand within the exhibition.

With my friend Di Solomon roped in to be my "Honorary Personal Assistant" for the two days - we set off from the Midlands to London, arriving at the Olympia venue on Monday around 4:40 pm. By 5:30 we had emptied the contents of the car into the stand, and then headed off to our hotel to check-in, then out for dinner. (We found a lovely pub almost directly opposite Earls Court tube station!)

Tuesday morning saw us up early and out of the hotel. We should have been WELL in time - but for some unknown reason I managed to completely mess things up and wrongly navigated from a map - so we arrived LATE for the 9:00 am start (eeeeek!) - and I staggered in, huffing and puffing, through the doors around 9:15. Thankfully, with the stand being on the back row of the exhibition space, there were very few people around at that time so we were able to get the table set up with copies of my books for sale, and get settled in, ready for the crowds...

My first speaking session was at 12pm on the Tuesday - speaking on "Talent management - managing your career and shaping your future". This was the session I was asked to cover at a week's notice, and seemed to go down well with the audience - lots of people came over to the stand afterwards to give good comments and feedback, and to buy my books, plus there were several really positive tweets about it on Twitter, so I was very pleased. I got a chance to wander around some of the other stands mid-afternoon - but the day absolutely flew by - Di and I could hardly believe that suddenly it was 4:15pm already, with only another 45 minutes of the show remaining for the day!

It was a really great two days being on the "other side" of attending - I'd attended as a PA for many years, and this was my first time being a speaker and/or exhibitor - so speaking twice AND having the stand really gave me a whole new experience of Office* !!

Di and I attended the drinks session which was hosted at Pizza Express for speakers and exhibitors at the end of the day (the photo shows Marion Lowrence, Vickie Sokol Evans, me and Di), then crossed the road to the Masala curry house for a delicious dinner, before retrieving Di's car from the Olympia car park and back to our hotel for the night.  Needless to say, after the fiasco of my map-reading that morning, I made sure that we did better on our route back to Olympia on Wednesday morning (I still can't quite believe how badly I misread the map on Tuesday!!), and we were back at the stand ready for the 9am opening of day two.

It seemed a little slower on Wednesday with less people - or it could just be that we'd calmed down from the flurry and excitement of the day before... My seminar was at 10:45, speaking on "The beginner's guide to integrating the many parts of the PA & EA". This was the session I was really excited about - as it was based on my new book "The PA & EA Circus", which I had finished writing at the end of August, just in time to get it published to bring copies along to sell at Office*....

Again, the session seemed to go over very well, with more really positive feedback from attendees who came to visit the stand, and more positive tweets - and over the two days Di and I managed to sell a good number of copies of my books.

With being on the stand, there wasn't really time for me to attend other seminars over the two days  which is a real change from my previous experiences of attending Office* - but I didn't miss out in any way: instead of meeting PAs as I walked around, they made their way to me at the stand!!  As always, I absolutely loved meeting so many PAs and EAs - it's such a great event for meeting and networking and making really good connections.

If you didn't attend this year, please please please put the dates in your diary and make an effort to attend in 2016 - it's going to be 11-12 May next time and at a change of venue - the ExCel in the London Docklands areas. Details will be added to in the coming months. I can guarantee you'll have an interesting time, and meet some great people - and the training seminars, free keynote seminars, technological seminars AND exhibition are all brilliantly planned and put together.

I look forward to seeing you there!


1 comment:

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