Outsourced Pharma West (OPW) Conference will be here in just a few short months. Unlike conferences you have attended in the past, OPW will be a unique opportunity to learn and partner. The sessions were requested by you, our readers, via an extensive survey. In selecting speakers, we sought out the most qualified and experienced professionals in the pharma and biotech industries. Many top CMOs and manufacturing experts will be onsite for discussions and partnering opportunities. This is one show you won't want to miss.
To maximize the value that you will get from OPW, a little planning and preparation will be necessary. Here are a few thoughts to help get you started.
Did you pack your business cards?
There is no worse feeling than arriving at a show only to discover that you left your business cards in your room, or worse, at the office. Packing for a show is a stressful experience and any of us, on any given trip, can forget to take an essential item like business cards. To ensure you are never caught short, find a pocket in your bag, one that you never use, and stash a batch of cards for emergency situations. I have an inside pocket in my suitcase that holds around 50 cards. Just in case.
Do you have a plan?
Attending a conference without a plan is one way to guarantee your goals will fail to materialize. Making a list of what you hope to accomplish, and your steps to make it happen, is a pre-show task many fail to complete. Consider the following:
1. Who do you want to meet? Make a list and determine the best way to meet them. What message do you want to deliver? Write it down and rehearse it - you have only one opportunity to make a first impression.
2. Which sessions are the most important to you? Note the days and times on your schedule. It's easy to get caught up in a discussion and forget a critical event. Missing a session that was a must-see for you can result in a disappointing show experience.
3. Shows are a great place to do business. But you need to be prepared. Be sure to have all details of your project written down, and be ready to answer questions. Do you have questions to ask? Write those down as well. It's easy to get into a meeting only to forget some of the critical queries you wanted to pose.
4. Are there questions you would like answered during a session? Draft general questions in advance, perhaps in the office or while on the plane. It is easier to brainstorm good ideas ahead of time as opposed to those few minutes after the presentation. Asking a solid question shows you were paying attention and is a good way to get noticed. And don't forget to state your name and company prior to asking the question.
Set appointments ahead of time
I have attended many conferences, and spoken with many exhibitors and attendees. Some complain about limited productive interactions they have at a show. Others rave about numerous successful encounters. The latter seem to have one thing in common: they set appointments ahead of time. At OPW, our priority is helping connect you with the right partners. Let us know who you would like to meet, and we will help facilitate as many encounters as possible.
Change your seat often
Most folks will sit in the same seat, or at least the same area, for every session at a conference. This is a missed opportunity. Sessions have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. One of your goals should be to meet as many individuals as possible. Since most attendees talk only to those around them, changing seats often can be an effective ways to meet others. When attending networking receptions,try to introduce yourself to unfamiliar faces. You never know when an introduction will be with your next valuable business partner.
Leave the office behind
Finally, be sure to focus 100% of your attention on the show to maximize success. Make every effort to detach from the day-to-day activities of the office. We all know this is not as simple as it sounds. Let everyone know that you will be at a conference and do not wish to be disturbed. Delegate tasks ahead of time. While at the conference, resist the urge to frequently check emails and voicemail. Instead, set aside time in the evening or before breakfast to respond to messages.
We believe OPW will be an informative, productive, and enjoyable conference for you. Following these simple steps will allow you to get the most out of it. If there is anything we can do to make it better for you, just let us know. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!
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