Conferences and trade shows offer the highest potential to create new business opportunities, keep current on the latest industry trends, extend your professional network, and develop client and vendor relationships.

Despite a slower economy in 2009 and a bit of 2010, recession is not a time to pull back. It’s a time to work smarter, work harder, and improve your own professional development to maintain your competitiveness. Attend conferences and trade shows to stay fresh on what’s new and exciting, keep up to date on new and emerging technologies, and seek solutions. 2011 offers a host of trade shows to choose from, including:

See if any of them make sense to you. We can’t guarantee what your results will be if you attend, but we feel that it makes more sense than ever to keep up with the changes, progress and evolution of our dynamic industry.

A few tips to help you benefit from a conference or trade show:

  • Review presentation topics beforehand to ensure you make the best session selection for your business.
  • Bring a schedule of your preferred sessions to avoid missing them.
  • Make contact beforehand with potential vendors or clients and arrange to meet them for dinner or coffee.
  • Don’t forget business cards to hand out to potential vendors.
  • Take a notepad and pen so you can quickly jot down information and key points.
  • Stay for the whole conference. If you skip out early, the presentation you miss will be the one everyone raves about afterwards.
  • Network with your peers. Get out and socialize with a highly targeted audience of industry professionals. You have unique knowledge and unique interests and are in a room with like-minded people. Take advantage of the opportunity to tap into the brain power of industry experts and ask questions and share ideas.
  • Seek out people blogging about the conference. They are usually knowledgeable industry insiders and analysts. Ask them what they think of the show this year. Ask them what speakers / programs look best. Ask them what other trade shows are worth attending. Get their blog information, and link to it or post on their blog. Make a new friend!