There are a lot of fleet events throughout the year. Some big, some small, all a little different. So how do you choose which event to attend?
When I’m attending an event, I take a look at three main factors to help me decide.
1. Who else is attending the fleet event?
This may seem like a basic consideration, but the list of topics and speakers tend to dominate materials so that’s where your focus may naturally end up. However, after the event when you’re back at the office, do you want to have only new information or would you rather have that PLUS new connections?
Are the other attendees at your same professional level? Will you also share the same concerns? If the answer is yes to those questions, that means you will be able to share ideas and best practices instead of just boasting a larger (metaphorical) Rolodex.
This is especially true of smaller events.
Don’t settle for an impressive speaker list. That should be a given for most events. Get the gift that keeps on giving: valuable, industry connections.
2. Where will the event be held?
This is might come across as a purely selfish consideration. However, you need to think of the location in terms of the setting.
It’s the networking equivalent of speed-dating. Beneficial for sure, but it can’t be your singular outlet for networking with the trucking industry.
The setting of an event, determined somewhat by the location, determines the types of interaction you’re going to get with all those other attendees you’re hoping to connect with. For large shows, like The Great American Trucking Show in August in Dallas, attendees and exhibitors tend to gather at their hotels or vendor parties.
You get some networking from that format, but it’s all about scale. It’s the networking equivalent of speed-dating. Beneficial for sure, but it can’t be your singular outlet for networking with the trucking industry.
For smaller shows, like the CCJ Fall Symposium, you’ll want the type of location where everyone is still interacting after the speaker sits down or the panel walks off. The smaller the event is, the better the social activities need to be. You don’t want to end up watching TV or answering emails in your room instead of getting valuable feedback from your peers.
(Also, I don’t mind nice locations from a personal standpoint. Why not grow professionally with some perks?)
3. What will I miss out on if I don’t attend?
There are some events that I attend because I’m looking to gains specific knowledge. There are other events that I attend because I know people will notice if I don’t. Here are the more specific questions to ask to determine if a fleet event is truly a “must-attend.”
Do I need to attend this event to remain relevant within my trucking industry network?
There are certain tiers of events where if you don’t show up, your peers will assume you’re no longer part of the larger conversation.
Will I miss out information I need to be good at my job?
I know I just said that the speaker list or agenda isn’t my primary consideration, but of course it’s important! Taking time off from the day job to learn is something that every professional needs to do. If you’re going to risk a fat inbox and some catch-up time late in the office, make sure it’s to gain truly valuable information.
We are all busy and with many events competing for our time, it’s important that to look at these three factors when deciding which ones to attend.
Do you have different factors that determine which events you’ll attend? Let me know in the comments!
Stay ahead of the curve.
Spots are running out, but you still have time to register for the CCJ Fall Symposium, December 2-4 in Scottsdale, Arizona.