Are you one of those people who end up walking trade show floors though with a glazed look in your eyes? Does your head spin trying to absorb everything? I was.
Attending multiple trade shows, conferences and events (TCEs) used to leave me wiped out. I worried constantly that I wouldn’t have much to show for myself when I got back to the office. How could I prove the ROI of attending? With all the pitches, the different, new and improved products to consider, and the show specials, it’s not a surprise people shut down and just go through the motions at TCEs. Like most attendees I would get over-saturated, and just “walk the show floor” and “see what’s out there”, and wait for the nightly cocktail parties to get through the two or three days. But a couple years ago, I broke this TCE vicious cycle with a couple of easy steps I now take before any professional event I attend.
- I decide before I arrive what my professional and personal goals are. I call this setting my intentions.
- I break up my days to include both “show time” and people time. It’s easy for me to get absorbed in TCEs and deprioritize personal connections and professional relationships (see number 3).
- I make a list of 3-5 people I
a. Want to meet
b. Already know and want to talk to about something business-specific
c. Already know and want to have a stronger personal connection with
Attending 12-15 TCEs every year without planning first leaves too much to chance. I have too much on my plate personally and professionally and days away really cost me. I hate feeling for a second that being away from the office was a waste of time or resources.
The 21st Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition coming up in Las Vegas August 8-10 presents an excellent networking and educational opportunity. As challenging as it is to make time to prepare before attending a TCE, every time I do, the ROI becomes clear.