The Conference Effect… Riding the Wave

Blog

This month’s View from the Q draws on the anticipation of ASQ’s World Conference on Quality & Improvement coming up in a few weeks (19 days to be exact, but who’s counting). I’ll confidently say this event is a highlight of my year, and I’m even more excited this year to be able to attend as a speaker. I decided a few years ago during my first visit to WCQI that I wanted to be up there making a difference in the quality community. I’m ridiculously excited to see that goal happen! And, I’ll have the same honor at the ASQ Service Conference this year as well. 🙂

In the ASQ post, Julia McIntosh is asking the community about the value of conferences, meetings and in-person events.  More specifically, she’s asking how we decide which ones to attend.

I have a unique perspective here, because it’s part of my job to make the suggestions regarding where we exhibit, or which events we attend. As budgets continue to tighten and tradeshow attendance wanes, it’s especially important to select the events that will have the largest ROI.

I have a few considerations when making recommendations here:

Attendee Demographics

I like to know who’s attending and how many people will be there.  In the case of WCQI, it’s where our industry connects from around the globe. We want to reach potential clients as exhibitors, but we also want to connect with quality professionals as potential contractors.

Cost

Of course, cost matters.  I feel cost is mostly consistent if you don’t factor in the travel variability.  We also use cost to determine how many people to send.

Location

Cost isn’t the only reason we look at location.  We like to schedule client and inquiry meetings if possible while we’re at an event. And, we want to ensure we have a presence in key areas identified in our strategic plan.

Added Value – Education

Events that offer education opportunities add value to our team and strengthens our expertise.  For example, I’ll be attending TexWorld coming up in July. I’ll be checking out the show for potential exhibition next year, but I’ll also have an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the textile/garment industry.  This will help me with creating content and general promotion of our organization here.

Networking 

My absolute favorite part of any event is the opportunity to network and reconnect with people I may only see once a year.  There’s no place where that’s more true than WCQI.  It’s like a family there… It’s several days of getting totally immersed in the quality industry.  There’s this “conference effect” that happens at events like this where it’s like a wave of motivation that pumps you up.  It’s invigorating!

For work, I enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and connect with existing clients.  Electronic forms of communication simply can’t replace a face-to-face conversation.  They’re a great supplement due to time constraints, but face-to-face should never be underestimated.

There’s an internal benefit as well.  Due to our team being so spread out around the world, we often try to meet at events.  Team building is a direct benefit there.

Check out a previous post I wrote that discusses Networking Skills that Work.  

Career Development

From a personal perspective, I try to attend as many local events as possible.  Our local ASQ Section hosts a monthly networking dinner that I’ve enjoyed speaking at and attending over the years. The local experience give me an opportunity to continuously improve and stay fresh. Making a difference in the community is also an important consideration.

The Administrative Professionals Conference is coming up next week, and I’m looking forward to returning as a speaker and spreading the word about Quality of Life & Work/Life Balance.

I like to attend site tour events whenever possible.  They’re a great way for me to see how different organizations function in a hands-on way.

Check out a previous post I wrote the discusses Getting the Most out of Conferences & Events.   Also, Quality Digest posted a video: Why Attend ASQ’s 2015 World Conference 

If you’ll be attending WCQI, check out my session (M33) or stop by our booth (338)! 🙂

1 Comment