Recently I attended the Channel Focus North America conference in Hollywood. And like everyone else with busy schedules and deadlines, I often miss taking advantage of the social side of these conferences. Interestingly enough, Rod Baptie has recently started creating a social setting on opening night of the conference, in this case, pool side at the event hotel. Admittedly, my first instinct was to pass on the gathering and get ready for two days of sold-out presentations and workshops. But this year I decided to relax and join in with the goal of having some fun. And to my pleasant surprise, I truly enjoyed myself. So here are my three reasons you should make the time to engage early.
- Limitless Potential – it’s kind of like spring training in baseball, everyone has a shot, everyone is upbeat – attendees and sponsors. The event potential is just that, great potential – I did not run into a soul in a bad mood, regardless of whether they had visited the open bar or not. Truly a great way to set the tone for the event and, for me, a chance to adjust my attitude.
- All for One – there was a notable camaraderie among the attendees and sponsors, very little selling but a lot of hugging (purely optional). Let’s face it, it’s a pretty small world we live (and work) in and really encouraging to see folks not just from North America, but around the world, casually discussing challenges and successes, catching up on the past year and making introductions and pulling each other into group conversations that are hard to have at any other time during the event. It’s like everyone took a time out from the daily competitive culture we live in to the benefit of all.
- As Casual As It Gets – For a conference known for adherence to a tight agenda, from attire to attitude, it seemed like formality was checked at the door along with suits. And whether someone was a seasoned veteran who needed to pull three vendors together to tee up a global strategy discussion or a newbie trying to figure out what vendors or attendees to turn to, many were engaged and, yes in some extreme cases, actually hugged.
So next time you feel wiped out upon arrival and think, ‘hmm, perhaps I will just call it a day,’ take a few breadths, find a Hawaiian shirt (or not) and enjoy a low-key, high-camaraderie event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Kellam, President at CCI
As a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for driving CCI’s evolution to expand its offerings and grow across its product suite, utilizing marketing to position the organization for continued, long-term success. He is also responsible for developing the strategic alliances necessary for CCI to achieve its revenue and profit goals, including technical alliances, service partnerships and sales relationships. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful managed services IT business, and a background in manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.