It’s important to go to trade shows and conferences in your specialty or industry for two reasons:
- You’ll see the latest and greatest of what’s going on in your industry – so it’s good for work
- You’ll network and get to know others in the industry – so it’s good for your career
Attending IMEX in Las Vegas, I was struck by how much I’d missed attending conferences in person. I remembered the hassles of traveling, such as flight delays, bad airport food and long lines to get coffee in the morning, the stress of making connections, and spending hours just to arrive. Not to mention all the plans I had to make to be away for a few days.
What I hadn’t quite remembered was the joy in meeting new people in the elevator, walking the show floor, talking to panelists after their session, and sharing thoughts and experiences with other attendees. All of that came flooding back when I was there for three days.
From a work perspective, trade shows and conferences offer so much in a condensed space of time. They allow you to:
- Listen to what’s new in your industry, from local events and learnings to new tech
- Hear from thought-leaders in the industry and get their perspectives
- Learn new things from people with industry expertise
- Think about tackling work problems and issues differently, perhaps more effectively
- Find new vendors (if there are exhibitors or vendor attendees)
These by themselves are all great take-aways from a conference or event. But there’s also the personal, career aspect of why these events can be helpful. While you’re there, listening to presentations and walking the exhibit floor, you can also further your career. There are opportunities to:
- See or hear which organizations are growing and doing well vs. those that are not – perspective new employers!
- Network with peers, who may be good career resources in the future (hearing about open position, or even hiring you – or vice-versa)
- Network with industry leaders and influencers, who may need you in the future
- Hear about career opportunities that might be right for you
- Learn where the industry is growing or moving and be in the right place at the right time to be part of that excitement and growth
In every industry I’ve been a part of (office equipment and software, the events industry, media, consulting, etc.) there are people who don’t leave that area, but move around from one company to another. Industries grow and mature as people grow and mature, and often the same people are moving around in their careers.
There’s a good chance that, if you stay in an industry for a few years, moving around, you’ll get to know the major players. And that’s great for your business as well as for your career.
I highly recommend going back to trade shows and conferences now, even going online virtually if you have to. It will help you do your job better and it can help you move up in the world, if that’s of interest to you. I also recommend that, as a business owner, you either attend or exhibit or speak at industry events. It will help you get the word out about what you’re doing and it will help you see what’s happening in your industry vertical.
Not sure where to begin? Contact me and let’s talk!