I was recently asked why I attend conference sessions -- isn't just going to conference networking portions enough?
I've been a supplier in this industry for 13 years, attending 20+ conferences each year, and I confess I've perused rosters of offered sessions and at times thought "oh no not again." How many times can I sit through repeated topics? But then I think back to the beginning.
If I didn't attend sessions, I wouldn't now have the connections I have. So, I proceed with choosing sessions to attend wisely in the on-going search for new connections. After all, that's why I spent valuable time preparing, then time in the airport (usually while lacking sleep), checking into a hotel, and why I'm spending after-hours time away from my much-loved home.
Jumping in is the only way to achieve my desired goal: to be visible.
Conference Visibility is a Networking Necessity
Not being present equates to no visibility, which can only lead to a lack of connections; if I choose this, I've already made a resolution to fail. Failure not being an option, I enter each session deliberately alone, to seek out who is there, to seek out who can I meet.
I avoid sitting with the familiar.
I choose some sessions based on my own interests and others to understand the industry climate.
I want to hear from my clients -- what are their challenges, what do they face, how can I be part of the conversation?
How can I understand this industry if I'm not part of that conversation or choose to only be present if I'm surrounded by familiar faces? I feel the same about tradeshows. If I'm present at a conference then -- although cliché -- go big or go home. I will always choose to be present amongst other contenders and stand proud as my destination for the opportunity to be visible.
New connections won't fall into my lap because I paid a registration fee.
The conference doesn't owe me connections. It owes me the opportunity to be visible. It owes me a schedule that affords me time to cement those connections they've provided the opportunity for me to form. If I don't attend sessions and/or don't participate in a showcase opportunity and I leave without new connections who is to blame?
Have I done my job?
A proud Newfoundlander, Krista spent several years outside of Canada as a Teacher in South Korea, Station Chairman for the American Red Cross in Germany, Event Manager for the U.S. Air Force in Europe, and Corporate Events Manager for a Fortune 100 company in Los Angeles. Thirteen years ago she returned home and joined the supplier side with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. For the last eight years she has been the Director of Sales of Destination St. John's.
Krista is the 2017 Co-Chair of CSAE's National Conference. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) Canada East Chapter as their Director of Education and is currently the Co-Chair and Program Chair of their Canadian Innovation Conference. In 2015, she was inducted into Meeting and Incentive Travel (M&IT)'s Hall of Fame as the Industry Mentor of the Year. In 2016, PCMA's Canada East Chapter named her the Inspirational Supplier of the Year.
If you want to increase your visibility at CSAE National Conference 2017, obtaining an exhibitor's booth at our tradeshow is the way to do it. By registering as an exhibitor, you get booth space and exposure through our new