In a sea of iPads, business suits, product sheets, and imprinted pens, I roamed the rows and rows of booths to see if I spotted our promotional card clipped onto anyone’s bag. I weaved in and out of hundreds of people who were slowly shuffling around the floor, arms and pockets filled with promotional tchotchkes, until I finally spotted a business man with our light yellow and green card clipped to his duffle bag.
I quickly approached him with large strides and interrupted him in mid-conversation with an eager smile saying, ‘You just won a GPS from Landacorp!’ Immediately, his serious scowl erupted into a huge smile, and the well-dress business man practically jumped up and down with excitement. I led him back to our booth and handed him a bag with a GPS inside. I posed with the winner for a picture, his face still frozen with the same smile I had induced with the good news of his win, and I smiled back. And in that moment his excitement mirrored mine, but for any entirely different reason; he was getting a GPS and I was finally getting my role.
I recently worked my first tradeshow, the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute, where thousands of prospective and current clients congregated for three days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Although it was brief, the experience left me with a renewed sense of purpose in my company.
But let’s back up to before I was so sure of myself.
Before going to the show, I didn’t have a point of reference for anything. I was new to the industry, had never met any of the clients or prospects, and wasn’t sure what our booth would even look like, or the exhibit hall for that matter. It was all a mystery, even my role while I was there. I didn’t know if I would end up standing around or pitching our product to executives. Everything was so uncertain when I walked across the vast lobby floor of the Moscone Center, but once I crossed the threshold into the exhibit hall, it was game on.
After a couple of days at the tradeshow, I was the go-to girl. I schlepped supplies to and from the exhibit hall, pitched our software in the booth, coordinated schedules, met clients, competitors and prospects, set up and packed up every day and instructed sales how to capture leads and register booth goers for our techy giveaways.
I definitely amazed myself; here I was working the show like a pro when just a week before I was thinking that I might be in the way. The whole atmosphere of the show yielded an amazing energy that I thrived from. It was like the final presentation after hundreds of hours of planning for the show and preparing to launch our vision for the future of healthcare.
By the end of the event, I was left feeling empowered, accomplished and confident in my role at the company. It was like a renaissance of my professional life.
Being a part of the tradeshow was amazing and it helped me to better understand the value of what I’m doing every day. What I learned from this whole experience was that sometimes you have to get out from under your work and get out there and see the effect it has on your industry and on society. I promise you, it’s going to change the way you view your work altogether.