What makes a trade show worthwhile? You could make an argument for topical educational sessions, decision-making attendees, enthusiastic and knowledgeable exhibitors, media opportunities, onsite logistics support or all of the above and you wouldn’t be wrong. You could also say forgotten nights of partying where the only thing bigger than the bar tab is the hangover and regret the next morning, and some people would agree.
Yet the value of a trade show really lies somewhere in the middle, where onsite and after-hours networking opportunities move business along and allow us to connect person-to-AV-loving-person over a beer, coffee or $3,ooo cocktail.
The best networking events bring people together in a comfortable, pressure-free atmosphere, while raising awareness and support for a worthy cause. As I will be attending my first ever InfoComm in Las Vegas this June, I decided to look into some of the peripheral events happening around the show.
The InfoComm Networking, Special Events and Awards page has all the expected highlights, including an opening keynote and reception, an international reception and a couple award ceremonies. For a noob like me, the First Timers’ Orientation and Tour is of particular interest since it promises to help maximize time spent on the show floor, an important factor to someone easily distracted by shiny objects.
Another resource for networking events is the NSCA InfoComm Networking Events page, which highlights some events specifically geared at raising awareness and support for the trade group’s educational efforts. There’s the NSCA Zone at Booth #C11536, cranking all the time, which gives attendees access to industry research, legislative resources and resources to make the most out of NSCA membership.
Two other events bringing NSCA members together at InfoComm, both in the NSCA Booth #C11536 are:
Women in AV Reception – Wednesday June 13, 3 – 4 p.m.
“This popular group on Twitter is joining NSCA to honor the accomplishments of women in the low voltage electronic systems industry. Two award recipients will be recognized for their outstanding achievements in mentoring women.”
NSCA Member Appreciation Reception – Thursday, June 14, 3 – 5 p.m.
“Enjoy drinks and the company of your fellow industry professionals to share challenges and solutions. We’ll also recognize the industry’s up-and-coming Movers & Shakers, the Lifetime Achievement Award winner and more during this casual networking opportunity where YOU are the honored guest!”
My favorite NSCA-affiliated event (and not just because client SurgeX is a sponsor) is the charity concert featuring InfoComm’s finest Drunk Unkles playing to raise money for the NSCA Education Foundation. The concert will take place on Thursday June 14th from 9 P.M. to 11 P.M. at Gilley’s Las Vegas, located in the high-energy Treasure Island Hotel & Casino. Invitations can be picked up at any of the sponsors booths on the floor. All proceeds from the concert support NCSA’s educational initiatives and the continued growth of the commercial electronic systems industry. As one who likes to quaff a few cold beverages after working nine hours on a trade show floor who also has a a few frequently drunk uncles, this will be a fun time. Below is some footage from the 2010 performance.
There also a useful post in the InfoComm blog post called Partner Education and Networking Opportunities, which will be useful for those in search of higher education. Know of other InfoComm networking events we haven’t mentioned? Please share in the comments, especially if they include complimentary food and beverages.