We asked Nick Field, former MD of Legend Exhibitions, about his experiences in the past and predictions for the future of the events industry:
Q. If you were to tell your 20-something self 3 things they should definitely do to help further their career what would they be?
A. Don’t worry too much. Like most things in life, you can spend a lot of time planning and plotting, but the things that make the biggest changes are the things that come out of the blue. Don’t try too hard to stay on a rigid path. You’ll miss out on some great opportunities – and a lot of fun! Don’t be scared of failing – it’s how you learn. Treat colleagues and clients in the same way you would like to be treated. Life’s too short to behave like an asshole!
Q. Who in the business world has inspired you?
A. I’ve been inspired by a large number of people – and Peter Jones is one of them. He has great self belief, supports his team – and when he gets knocked down, he gets back up, learns from the experience, and comes back with a smile.
Q. What would you say is the biggest issue being faced in the events industry at the moment?
A. People have so many more ways to get information nowadays. The days when exhibitions were just a few days of rows of stands have long gone. Organisers – and exhibitors – have to find ways to engage with their audience all year round, and to supply information that is clear, concise and very, very relevant.
Q. What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?
A. On a practical issue – venues! In London, Olympia has recently been sold and will probably be re-developed, Earls Court has already gone, and Excel won’t be able to accommodate everyone. When you look at the government support given to the exhibition industry in other countries (such as Germany), the lack of support in the UK is really short sighted.
Q. What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?
A. Events can’t stand alone. They need to be part of a year round strategy, using a wide variety of platforms, that provide not only a platform for their respective target markets to gather information, but also provide an opportunity for those industries to really get involved. It’s no longer about ‘us and them’ – we all need to work together more than ever.
Q. Why do you think events such as the Conference Summit are important for the industry?
A. Events like Conference Summit are important in order to share ideas and move the industry forward. If events are successful, we all benefit. If some fail, we all feel the negative effect. We should all be in this together!