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17 January 2019
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Less is more

7 May 2013

You hear a lot of the phrase ‘less is more’ in the media.

It crops up whenever someone suggests an item has been over-embellished, or that for a clear picture of what’s really important, it’s necessary to strip away any extraneous elements that may have become attached.

What you want is an obvious point of focus. Less encumbrance = more of what really matters.

It’s an important principle that’s worth keeping in mind in circumstances far removed from publishing. Take exhibition attendance, for example. By the time you read this, it will be Facilities Show time again. (Me neither – last time I looked outside it was still winter.)

This year sees the last running of the show at Birmingham’s NEC before it relocates to London’s ExCeL Centre in 2014. Organisers have put together what looks like a winning programme of mini seminars and debates where, perhaps inevitably, sustainability and building information modelling are the subjects that loom large. There are also sessions on service management, energy efficiency and a couple of cracking case studies.

So, naturally, I’ll be there – but whether you as an FM will find it equally as valuable depends on your priorities (if you’re still unsure, we’ve asked former BIFM chair Iain Murray to write a column on the topic – you’ll find it on page 51).

Of course, it’s the surrounding exhibition that generates the revenue and it’s here that thinking ‘less is more’ can pay dividends. What a salesman thinks you need to know about a topic is not necessarily what you actually need to know about it. With myriad alternative ways of, for example, installing fire safety equipment or managing PAT costs, is what you’re being told really the best option for you? Maybe, but it’s always worth asking for every pitch to be an elevator pitch – 30 seconds of blunt explanation: what does product/service A do for circumstance B?

Despite the obvious constraints, taking the trouble to attend exhibitions is still, in my view, a practical use of time. Yes, you will be sold to – but you’d be hard pressed to find a better forum in which to hear about what’s going on and to respond with your own questioning. If you’re focused on the seminar sessions that resonate best with you, you will most certainly find out something of value. And when you’re networking, it’s highly likely that some of the connections you make will be extremely valuable ones.

Perhaps, though, it’s simply a question of planning. Less time spent on peripheral areas, and more on the exhibition stands and sessions that could really help in your current priorities and projects.

Another area where ‘less is more’ might also make sense is in the number of representative organisations in and around the FM sector. So it is intriguing indeed to break the news, as we went to press, of the BIFM’s decision to work with the Facilities Management Association, Asset Skills and the Cleaning & Support Services Association towards the goal of a single representative united body representing FM and support services.

As you might rightly expect of this magazine, we’ll have more on this initiative in our next issue.

Martin Read is managing editor for FM World