Over the years, I have received many calls and questions from those who have been on the fence about attending the Trimble Dimensions Conference. Well aware of all the planning and costs for an event like this, I’ve listed out considerations that I think are important in making a qualified decision on how you can make the most at a conference like this.
It is one thing to pay the entrance fee, but the rooms at the event are not a bargain. You could always do what our GM does to me and put me up at the KOA in Pahrump. Ha! Kidding aside, there are cheaper options. There are other potential cash drains on a wallet while visiting Vegas. I am the worst Vegas visitor; I have never been to a show and I don’t gamble. If you want to do any of those things, please remove them from the budget, they have nothing to do with the trip and may skew the budgeting numbers if you are sharpening your pencil.
We need to look at what I call the “double dip”. As an owner or partner in a firm, you are not only spending money to go but losing money by not having your hand on the tiller of the company. The balance comes from the advantages gained. By attending any of the 429 sessions, you’ll be interacting with like-minded individuals involved in the same business as yours. You can speak to others in similar-sized firms to yours. The advantage is they will not be your competition, just like-minded contemporaries. Taking the pressure off and leaving the door open for a well-rounded learning experience amongst peers.
We all have businesses to run, am I right? Taking into account that you’d be absent, coupled with the loss of hours for employees you’d pay to attend you need to know if the investment of time is a good one. Here is a breakdown of the reasons a major expenditure like this is great for business, even with the double dip.
- Learning engagement strategies. Make sure your people sign up for classes that pertain to their job responsibilities.
- Give the crew a day after the conference to experience Vegas. Let them know that this is work, but after the conference is over, they can walk down the strip with a 3-foot blue drink.
- Communication is great now. I remember the days when I had to pay by the minute to get an internet connection, and cell phone signals were blocked in the convention center. Staff can text and call between sessions and keep things moving along while out of town.
The Session Length
I will be offering two breakout sessions at this year’s Dimensions. You are already signed up to come to my sessions, correct? We presenters are tasked with being entertaining, informative, and educational in about 45 minutes. My focus is to hit hard with information and let people review the presentation at a later date, sessions are available online after the event. I have done classes on both ends of the spectrum. A 20-minute offering is just a waste of time. When I do an hour and a half, we get off in the weeds while working on software and not just a PowerPoint and make a mess of things.
Trimble has settled on the 45-minute hour, which is a perfect compromise. Here is what your employees can expect in the presentation process.
- I like the topic, I’ll sign up.
- I meet others at a social event taking the same or similar classes and start sharing information.
- I talk to others while waiting for the session to begin, business cards are exchanged, and non-competing contact is made.
- During the session, questions are asked of the presenter, prompting a follow-up. Boundaries are expanded and those in the email loop of the presenter have an expert in their corner.
- I answer questions for years after I present at Dimensions. We are here to help and like when people take advantage of that resource.
I have one simple axiom about employees. If you are not recruited at least 3 times a year, you are not doing a good job. I can only speak to my corner of the world. Data engineers are hard to find and there is a fair amount of musical chairs in the business. I don’t know if operators and project managers are desirable, but they can be recruited away from your company.
The answer to that is two-fold. The grass is always greener on the other side, if somebody is recruited and needs to move to another city or state, there is nothing to be done about it. The location makes the market different and rates for employees can be higher just a few miles away. When someone is being recruited from your backyard, you may need to look at their compensation package and do a gut check on the numbers. That may sound painful, but this is an opportunity to shine a light on your operation. It may be good or bad.
When I return from Trimble Dimensions, I make a point to reach out to participants I know and get their feedback. I always find it breaks down to two distinct responses. Either they said they got a wealth of information, or it was a total drag. Here is how to make sure you are the former:
- Be an extrovert. It’s easy for me, I was born that way. I understand the difficulty in reaching out and connecting for you introverts. This is critical, your job for these few days is to meet, greet, and engage with like-minded individuals.
- Find your kind of people. The place is a zoo – thousands of people at one place. The cool thing is there is a small group of those inside your niche. You need to find them and share. Here’s how:
- The Dimensions app shows attendees for sessions you are signed up for. Find them and talk. Go have a beer and whine about how tough your job is. It’s cathartic and fun!
- Meet and talk before sessions. I have done more business before and after sessions than anywhere else. Now you can engage with a new contact and share with a non-competitive individual.
- Happy hours and niche gatherings are the best way to find your groups. Just look at badges and talk!
This is part of your job and it’s no different than moving 1,000 yards away. You may be in a different place and the scenery is fun and distracting, but this is still work. Being hungover at breakout sessions is not how to play the game. Get your act together and be as serious as you are back on your turf. The payoff will be huge. You will make your Dimensions investment back a hundred-fold if you keep focused and are sincere about learning, interacting, and improving.
Now that you’ve been well informed by a seasoned attendee, start preparing for your trip by checking out the sessions that Dimensions+ is presenting this year. Also, make plans to stop by our booth and connect with our TOPS team. With so much still to do, save time by registering today and reserving lodging before it’s too late. This is your time! Get ready to connect with a like-minded community and grow your business.