If you are like me, you feel great after learning something new, especially when there is a self-improvement component. There’s a lot you can get out of a trade show or conference, such as:
- hear creative ideas
- learn better processes & tactical solutions
- hear best practices
- network within your industry
- have an awesome time at the after parties!
What your boss wants to know
What’s missing here? Souvenirs for your boss! I don’t mean the schwag you picked up from vendors, I mean the education and experiences that your boss is interested in. Bosses typically want to know their money was well-spent by hearing about:
- relevant success stories from other firms and details on how that success was achieved
- new research that should modify the assumptions your team has been using
- new technologies that improve ROI or relieve the burden of internal processes
- ideas and evidence that are contrary to things you’ve been thinking & doing
- best practices of companies and thought leaders that you should adopt
- steps, tools & ideas for how to be more effective
- a report that your boss can show to her/his boss and look like a smart manager
What to give your boss
A trade show is your chance to bring some fresh ideas back and show your boss that you think strategically and for the long-term. Start with a presentation that contains a high-level summary of what you saw and why it is important. You may want to include a list of recommended initiatives for the next year.
Your boss isn’t looking for a list of features and benefits nor your notes from each session. They don’t want to know everything, rather what is relevant. This is one of those times where you should show your boss that you know more than he/she does.
Again, the greatest value you are delivering is adapting what you heard for your company’s benefit. So pay attention to what you hear, take in the entire experience, and translate it into successes for your organization and your career.