The whole thing with 2020 just kind of blew up the way that we view trade shows and conferences. Everybody had to take a step back and adjust to virtual events. I'm still not sold on how well the virtual cocktail hours are working either. It’s very different from being together in a small group at a conference and having conversations while you network.
Virtual events have allowed us to be able to attend more things because we don’t have to travel. In fact, one week this year, I was able to speak at three different conferences. While that was nice, I am really looking forward to when we are able to be back together in person, but I don’t think we are ever going to be back to how things were. I think we are going to see a lot of hybrid events that combine a mixture of the traditional with the virtual.
When in-person events are back on the table, it’s important to do research before attending. Consider how many people are coming, the state the event is being held in and what the facility is doing to establish safety guidelines. Decide what value the event would bring to your business or your team when deciding whether it makes sense to attend.
For contractors, the virtual events provide opportunities to have more of their team members attend educational sessions and to browse the virtual expo halls to learn about new products, services and technologies. I think that this will remain the case in the future as we see live events resume, but still maintain a semi-virtual experience that will really benefit those who may otherwise not be able to travel and attend traditionally.
Thea Dudley is an expert credit and collections officer, having spent 30 years in the construction field working for contractors and distributors. See her full bio here.