Regardless of the industry you are in, conferences and trade shows are a great way to connect with the peers in your field and learn what’s new and trending right now. However, attending a conference entails a lot more than learning and networking. As an HR Professional, you are responsible for the success of many things that impact your organization, like recruitment campaigns, performance reviews, annual negotiations, onboarding of new hires, learning and development for your employees and much more. What do you want to accomplish before you hit the conference floor?
Here is a list of 4 simple steps to leverage trade show attendance:
- Identify your “pains” , what’s hurting your job right now? What are the gaps? Across the many aspects of HR management, in what area can you make a real difference for your organization? What will be your priorities to succeed?
- Prepare your questions in advance. Treat the exhibitor vendors as guides and not as salespeople. The more you exchange with them your areas of concern, the better chances they will be able to provide you with a solution that may help achieve your goals and bring value to your organization. Lookout for vendors that have a strong value proposition with regard to your particular challenges.
- Research the exhibitor vendors before attending. Be open-minded. Strong brands inspire confidence and offer a broad expertise. Yet smaller players may be more innovative and deliver above and beyond your expectations. Match vendors you’ve heard of as leaders with challengers you want to get to know better. Once you’ve identified them schedule a visit before the show starts, that way they’ll be able to see you on a scheduled time. The best thing you could do is go to their conferences on site , and schedule personal demos ahead of time. Make sure you take a deep dive and give a chance to your top choices to enlighten you. How else could you know what’s there to see?
- Plan your next steps. So, the show is over. Did you make a list of all the key takeaways? Did a keynote speaker say something that you had not thought of that you could apply in your organization? Did a vendor stand out as more relevant to your organization’s challenges? Keep the ball rolling and come prepared to next Monday’s meeting with all the value you can bring to the table.
Bonus tip: Once you are set on either acquiring a new system or upgrading into HR Technology, know that you will need buy-in from the rest of your team. Here’s a quick guide on how to help you build a business case for a solution.
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