Exhibition Showcase talks to Gagan Sahni, Director-Business Development, International Trade and Exhibitions India Pvt. Ltd.

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ES – Please tell us when & how did you begin your career in the exhibition industry?
Gagan – I started my professional career with Godrej FMCG division but within one year of time got the chance to work for exhibition industry. Then I Joined Tafcon as trainee in 1999, worked for various shows and after 11 years left as General Manager in 2010. Presently working with ITEI, Indian subsidiary of ITE Group plc, UK for last 8 years I have been associated with over 100 international events in last 19 years on various industries like Construction, Dairy & Food processing, Education, Engineering & Manufacturing, Environment, Metals, Machine Tools, Mining, Paper, Packaging, Poultry, Travel & Tourism, etc. I am Presently handling 14 brands of ITEI

ES – It is said that life of an event manager is extremely stressful. Being a leader of so many event managers, what do you feel how true is this statement and how do you cope up with all the collective stress?
Gagan – Meeting deadlines & targets may have some discomfort for some individuals but this is for every industry . Personally I am passionate about exhibitions and can’t even think about any other challenging & interesting career like this unique exhibition industry.
We guide our team to plan efforts & time together for all key activities and work like a family . We also reward their efforts regularly , sometime on daily basis. Such small efforts really helps to manage the stress.

ES – What does a normal working day in your life look like?
Gagan – I prefer to be first person to enter in office, plan my day, develop my contacts and give priority to all responsibilities by stretching my limits at the best possible level on day to day basis.

ES – ITEI is a leading exhibition organizer in India. What does a event day in your life look like?
Gagan – The exhibition day comes with lots of emotions & responsibilities because all planning and preparations needs to be executed at best of the satisfaction level. The pre exhibition days is the key time to build our professional contact as well as confidence amongst exhibitors with best support services. Every minute of the exhibition days is important to address Exhibitor Facilitations, VIP Visits, Business Matching, Media Coordination and lost more.

ES – How do you take up the role of a leader? How do you keep your team motivated to excel in their work?
Gagan – The Knowledge transfer, Sharing experiences, Training programs , etc create a strong base for team to perform. Apart form this we have Friendly working environment, Advanced IT Infrastructure & support system, Day to Day Guidance , Best incentive plans and much more .

ES – As a leader, how much do you believe in delegation of work? Or you believe in more centralization of control?
Gagan – Delegation with guidance is the key for growth . Every team member play an individual vital role for the growth of our shows and organization. I strongly believe that “Responsibilities only gravitate to the person who can shoulder them”. So few senior colleagues get responsibilities to achieve numbers with help of complete support system, management &teams.

ES – What 5 tips would you like to give to budding professionals in this industry?
Gagan – This is my random thoughts, but can be portrait in various ways
THINK Global & ACT local
ACCEPTNEW initiatives, challenges, talents
BELIEVE that there is no shortcut for success
FOLLOW the Leaders and
GUIDE the Team with example

ES – What 3 things one should avoid in order achieving success in this industry?
Gagan – “Your Desire For Success should be GREATER than your Fear of Failure “Also I would suggest to avoid
Competition Criticism
Unethical business practices
Fake Promises & Projection

ES – What can India learn from the global exhibition industry?
Gagan – Exhibitions industry in India is still trying hard to gain a foothold. Being the fourth largest economy in the world, Indian exhibition industry has huge potential & scope to grow, but we need to adopt the best practices & technology used in global markets.

ES – How do you achieve high levels of excellence at virtually every element in your shows?
Gagan – We give equal high attention on all verticals of our events like Planning, Promotion, Operation, Support and Facilitation . Although we have team of highly experienced staff equipped with lasted support systems and tested action plans. But we are always open for new avenue for delivery of quality standards in our exhibitions.

ES – Who has been the inspiration in your life?
Gagan – There have been various sources of inspiration in various phases of my life . Moreover I also got the chance to work & learn with various legends of exhibition industry in last two decades. Will not be able to justify by
naming only a few here.

ES – What are your upcoming plans?
Gagan – ITEI has ambitious growth plans to expand its existing events and launching new events for India’s growing industries. We already have a proven track record of various successful events for Exhibitors & Trade Visitors to develop new and existing commercial relationships.

ES – What are the upcoming trends in exhibition industry?
Gagan – The focus exhibitions have already started getting their share in marketing budgets. Moreover Industries are also getting instant benefits with face to face interaction with targeted audience in exhibitions.
The new digital support systems, social media and increasing industry attention has accelerated the growth process of Indian exhibition industry . In future trade exhibitions will play a vital role in overall growth of economy with New Avenues for Joint ventures, Business Alliance, Technology transfer, new import & export destinations and more.

ES – ITEI bagged one prestigious award at the recently held Exhibition Excellence Awards. How do you feel about it? Please comment.
Gagan – We are really glad to receive this, much awaited appreciation for our paperex event. Paperex has already established as a “Business Festival of the Paper Industry” and Exhibition Showcase’s EEA has motivated us further by recognising our contribution to this industry.

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