There’s more to events and conferences than learning and networking

The whole economy of events and conferences, however, goes beyond the concept of networking and knowledge sharing. These platforms are also about providing a platform and opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services, to connect with the decision makers who could be a prospective client.

I just happened to read one of my ex-colleague’s ponderings about the many emails, calls, and sales pitches he received after attending an HR conference. I am sure many do ponder, and some people may have a some what negative feeling after being overwhelmed with sales pitches and incessant followups.

Most of you would have participated in events and conferences related to your area of work. Your participation may have been sponsored by either your employer or would have been based on a complimentary invite by the event managers or one of the businesses sponsoring the event. Normally, event organizers send tones of complimentary invites to senior professionals and decision makers.

Networking & Learning

Events and conferences are seen by most of us as a platform, where we get to learn about latest in our areas of work, upcoming products, technologies and frameworks. Events and conferences also happen to be a great place to network and meet people – your industry contacts, ex colleagues from different businesses as well as to make new contacts in the industry. It’s also an opportunity to be away for a day from work.

The whole economy of events and conferences, however, goes beyond the concept of networking and knowledge sharing. These platforms are also about ( for most events the prime objective is business ) providing a platform and opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services, to connect with the decision makers who could be a prospective client. You would be too naive to stay blind to this aspect of conferences.

Economy of Events & Conferences: Sponsorships

Sample Sponsorship Brochure

The participating businesses, the sponsors, who are showcasing their products and services pay for the stage, banners, food, stalls, the awards, the complimentary coffee, the complimentary pen drive, the complimentary leather bag and folder. They need to get their penny’s worth from their spends on sponsoring or participating in the events. Their sole objective is to communicate about their product or services and to generate qualified leads. Depending on their level of sponsorship, they may have access to your data and coordinates. They will reach out. That’s their attempt at ROI.

This is business

At times, senior professionals wonder about the hundreds of sales pitches, emails, and meeting requests after attending an event. Some of them get too vocal about it, others accept it as it is. The moment you register or confirm your participation, you have already signed up to be contacted by the sponsors. The moment you hand over your business card – there will be a sales pitch. And you need to be open to the idea of being contacted. There is nothing to feel bad about. This is business. This is it. Even if you have paid for your seat, you become a part of the target audience.

While you may appear to be bogged down by multiple emails, follow up phone calls and meeting requests – every contact is an opportunity for you to learn, to identify opportunities. Even you are a part of the same ecosystem. Possibly someone in your company from sales function is hounding some prospective client for a meeting, probably after generating lead at some conference. Think about it. What pays your salary? How does your company make money?

Image Credit: Luis Quintero / Artem Beliaikin / Pexels

Praveen is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Khedge Business Consulting Pvt Ltd. He works with organisations in areas of business strategy and human-resource management. Over the last 15 years he has helped various organisations with their HR processes, structure, alignment and effectiveness; and talent strategy and processes. You can connect with him at praveen@khedge.com.

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