Five Reasons to Attend a Security Trade Show (Beyond Keychains and Chit-Chat)

In years past, trade shows were critical ways to network and learn about industry developments. Older professionals still use trade shows for networking and getting hands-on exposure to the latest products. But younger workers increasingly avoid trade shows, generally citing lack of value.

Who’s right? In today’s internet-fueled business environment, does it still make sense to attend a security trade show?

Only if you change your goals and tactics.

If you alter your approach, your next security trade show could leave you with a major career boost, not just a suitcase full of swag. Here are five tactics for making a security trade show worth your time.

1) Solve your problems.
Before you go to a security trade show, take the time to define issues and problems with your existing security solutions. What’s not working? What’s inefficient? How could your process or solution improve?

If you attend a trade show with specific issues in mind, it’s easier to identify new answers. Bring your concerns to company booths and ask how they’d solve them. Trade shows are a great way to tap into expert knowledge so you can take back a new product or work-around to improve your business processes.

2) Influence product development.
Don’t see what you need on the market? Make your voice heard at a trade show! Most companies bring sales and product development teams to trade shows, and your feedback could influence the next generation of products and solutions.

At S&G, we’re always looking for ways to listen to our customers and hear from people who don’t use our products but who have an interest or a stake in security at any level.

3) Spot emerging trends.
A particular issue may not currently impact your company but hearing about what’s happening in the industry can give you an idea of what might be coming your way—and offer you time to implement a pre-emptive solution. Trend awareness can save your company considerable time, money, and headaches.

Find out about trends at panel discussions, or through casual conversations with other attendees and exhibitors. You can pick up all sorts of great information at a security trade show.

4) Validate a hunch.
Have a theory you aren’t sure about? Wondering if your gut feeling is accurate? A security trade show is a great forum for hashing out hunches with other professionals in your industry. Getting outside perspective can help you validate a direction before you make a big investment of time or resources.

Make time to have meals or coffee with other attendees for these productive conversations. It’s a different kind of networking—with a focus on problem solving more than ladder climbing.

5) Bring back fresh ideas.
Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. Getting exposure to the latest ideas and solutions can broaden your thinking and make you significantly more effective in your job.

Once you get back to the office, be sure to let your colleagues and supervisors know the best of what you learned. Think of fresh ways to approach ongoing issues, present possible solutions, and be ready to apply your security trade show takeaways in your day-to-day work.

Is it worth it to attend a security trade show? We think so. That’s why S&G continues to be a presence at key events throughout the year. And in 2020, we’re rolling out a whole new way to interact. Be sure to stop by the S&G booth at ATMIA in February 2020 for a whole new security trade show experience.