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This is not a spectator sport - Why event participation is more vital than ever!

The tragedy of the global pandemic can never be diminished. Yet today, although few stories mention Covid, the impact of the nearly 3-year health crisis has altered our society and business culture. 

The shift in hybrid or teleworking from 15% in 2019 to 40% today has been mirrored by massive uptake in video conferencing. The amount of virtual contact has risen as in-person engagement has taken a hit. However, for the IT service provider community, the benefits of in-person, active engagement should not be underestimated.

Roll up, roll up…

Historically, conferences, symposiums, roundtables, and the like have been viewed as a chance for sellers to pitch to buyers. And let’s not kid ourselves, there is still a lot of this mentality. Yet, over my 28 years attending IT events both as a journalist and for the last decade as an organiser, the biggest benefit comes from the relationships that are formed at a personal level that are the bedrock of every successful partnership.  Watching a YouTube video of a product presentation is vastly different experience from being able to ask a subject matter expert a specific question. And sometimes, this might be a question you want to pose in a public or private forum.

Hello frenemy!

The other massive change is peer-to-peer co-operation. Events that bring together participants in the same industry are great places to meet like-minded people. There was a running joke about CeBIT, formerly Europe’s largest IT event, that it was a just a ‘recruitment fair’ as post CeBIT would see a slew of executive moving ship.  Today, we see events where partners with different areas of expertise are actively looking to establish relationships with not just vendors but also technology and service peers keen to collaborate and differentiate within a crowded marketplace. We have seen significant M&A activity in the IT space and real-world events offer a perfect forum to test the water as either a buyer or seller.

Baby its cold outside…

The last area to consider is purely personal. We need to get out more. We need to shake hands, tell jokes, share ‘war’ stories and gauge the mood with other leaders from our industry.  It is incredibly easy to live in little bubbles of social media, followers, influencers and the like that can unfortunately lead to a feedback loop of stagnant viewpoints.  Live events will often bring you into the orbit of people that are very different to you. Strangers with different outlooks, ideas, challenges and ultimately solutions.

Less is more!

If you look at the calendar of IT events for the year, it has become increasingly packed as vendors strive to engage with potential partners and customers. And in general, events have become larger and less personal with ExCeL sized venues replete with throngs of gawkers shovelling stand-swag into branded bags. In my view, this is not engagement. 

Instead, I would argue that smaller events where you can converse and participate with senior people  often provide  more  longer-term value. Therefore, my final piece of advice if you plan to attend Channel-Sec is to strike up a conversation with someone new . Share a coffee with a peer. Pose a challenging  question to the panel that makes them think twice. Approach a vendor outside your usual scope. In essence, immerse yourself in the  experience. Be part of making an event a valuable day. Be an explorer rather than just as spectator.

So, here’s our pitch…

As a delegate to Channel-Sec 2024, you will gain access to:

150 partners peers 
20 conference stands
12 dedicated boardroom sessions
Keynotes with Jamil Qureshi, Performance Coach and Maggie Alphonsi, MBE
Engaging panel discussion on the business and technology of cybersecurity
Great networking environment
Competitions and prizes for best questions
Luncheon and drinks reception 

So join us at ‘The Security Event for the European IT Channel’ on Wednesday 26th June 2024 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

Click Here to Register