I know that many of us struggle with the idea of attending trade shows and industry events. The healthcare sector has seen a rapid growth of events due to emerging regulations such as UDI and Serialization. Sadly, many of these events are hosted by strictly for-profit conference companies, with little regard to overall value for the participants or “delegates” as they so politely refer to them. It’s pretty clear that these conference companies are stroking the prospects and instilling an artificial sense of fear and urgency in our industry.
Healthpack is the leading event for the medical device packaging industry and has a very good track record of setting itself apart from the for-profit conference companies. But the pressure to travel for only business essential reasons is a simple fact of our industry in this day and age. Many of us ponder this type of travel and the valuable time away from work and our teams. You may be thinking, “I see the benefit of attending but will my management agree? Will this result in new knowledge, capabilities, services or valuable industry connections? Will I be barraged by trigger happy salespeople? Is this the right event for me and my organization? Are the funds necessary to register and attend better put to use elsewhere in my organization?”
These are all valid questions every good manager is likely asking. And, they also are having to defend these questions when their leaders seek justification for the T & E. Personally I want to encourage you to attend industry events. Done correctly and by selecting carefully the value can be tremendous.
So you’ve made the smart decision to attend Healthpack 2016 this year (or any industry event for that matter) – kudos to you! Here’s how you can make the most of this excellent event.
- Stay at the Conference Venue assuming it’s adjacent to or connected to a hotel. This saves time of course and also opens up the possibilities of unplanned networking opportunities that may lead to valuable ideas, contacts or opportunities.
- Review and research the exhibiting vendors ahead of time and make a plan. Don’t just attend and walk the vendor area aimlessly. Identify those suppliers who you need to speak with. Also identify those companies you have little information regarding and use the event to discover what they have to offer. A 10 minute conversation at their booth will tell you a lot more about their capabilities and give you a valuable chance to feel if they would be a fit with a face to face conversation (Healthpack Exhibitor Listing).
- Dress appropriately. You wouldn’t wear ripped jeans and ratty t-shirt to the office, so why would a premier event for your industry be any different just because the boss isn’t around? Remember you will be making an impression on the people you meet – make a good one!
- Bring business cards (and copies of your resume if you’re job hunting). And bring enough with the goal to give them all away by the end of the event. This little trick I often use to make sure I’m taking advantage of meeting as many new people as possible. If my jacket pocket has to many cards after a break or end of the day I know I need to be working harder.
- Take advantage of the networking opportunities associated with the event. These can be invaluable in meeting peers in your industry.
- Don’t promise new contacts and vendors to “stay in touch” and then quickly forget they exist after the event. Nothing screams unprofessional more than being ignored after committing to remain in contact. And if you made a really good first impression why then ruin it by behaving in a way that indicates you’re not a person of your word?
We hope to see you at this year’s event. Please stop by and say hello. We’d love to meet you and also know what you think of this article.
More on Healthpack 2016 and why you should attend is HERE.