It's almost not worth pointing out anymore that 2020 has been a crazy, ridiculous, weird, tragic, challenging year. It has altered our norms in almost every area imaginable. As December hits and I prepare to participate in the UKG PCW conference, it was easy to consider all of the things I will miss about an in-person conference: the travel (yes, I like the travel), the usually new-to-me resort or hotel, hanging with co-workers I usually don’t see in person, grabbing a scotch and teaching squats in a random bar with Andrew the Englishman, golf scrambles, meeting new people, etc.
There are plenty of positives to an in-person conference. What I find more interesting is to consider the things I won’t miss… Here are 5 things I came up with…
1. Carting around the booth materials and promo items… One year, I had to push a small suitcase filled to the brim with PayDay candy bars through the X-Ray machine… It was flagged and opened… The expression on the guy’s face was pretty great.
2. Breakfast… Enough said? As an attendee, you can sleep in with no worries. However, as an exhibitor, someone has to “work the breakfast.” Since most conferences include late night adventures, working the breakfast is not a popular gig.
3. The walk… Hanging out at the booth and waiting to catch eye contact with random passers-by can only get you so far. To truly get the most out of exhibition time, you need to walk the floor. This is a delicate balance of appearing to be walking somewhere with purpose, while not slipping into creepy stalker status, which occurs when the same people see you making the same loop over and over again.
4. The first 10 minutes of any event. Awkward, yes? Just me? Alrighty then.
5. Cornering that person that has been ignoring emails since the last conference… Many sales people relish this moment, I think. I do not. I don’t know that I consider myself a sales person at heart. I’m not in it for the convincing. I enjoy creating synergistic relationships and, if someone isn’t interested in listening, I don’t think it’s a 30 second elevator ride that is going to make the difference.
What are some of the things you won’t miss from in-person conferences?
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