It’s that time again! Pack your bags and head on out to the multi-day extravaganza of the mid-year: The CAI Annual Conference and Exposition! For those of you who aren’t familiar, CAI National is one of the largest industry events of the year, chock full of education sessions on operations, leadership, innovative business practices, as well as new products and technologies. CAI National 2018 will take place May 9 - 12 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
Not only is this conference a major hub for innovation and success, it's an event you'll actually enjoy participating in! CAI National can be an overwhelming rush of presentations, conversations, and potential meet-ups, sure, but it's also an exhilarating experience for everyone involved. But with all of the excitement, it can be tough to know where to focus your time. To assist you with that, I have complied a small list of CAI conference “must-dos”.
In no particular order, here are 4 things you simply must experience at CAI Annual Conference:
1. Expo Hall
The Exposition showcases the latest technologies, solutions, products, and services in one convenient marketplace. Face-to-face interaction with product and service representatives is an invaluable aspect of attending the conference.
Included in that Expo Hall will be the TOPS Software sales team, waiting to meet with you. In addition, we will have TOPS [ONE] on full display within the our booth. Whether you have questions about your product, want to learn more, or just want to say hello, be sure to come meet us at the TOPS Booth #1208.
CAI National brings together people from all across the country--take advantage of that! A number of networking events are scheduled throughout the conference, and there is always the bar or restaurant and even private suites to schedule meetings in and around the show. For more direct networking, schedule some one-on-one time with someone you can't leave the event without speaking to in person. And don't forget, TOPS Software account managers (and our president and CEO Mike Hardy!) are available to chat with CAM professionals just like you, to help you actualize your organizational goals. Email your Account Manager to ask about any free time they may still have, or be sure to say hello at the TOPS Booth #1208.
3. Continuing Education
Arguably one of the most valuable uses of your time at any conference is time spent acquiring continuing education credits. They're a pesky requirement, but an easy one to knock out if you know where to go (hint: you go to CAI National).
The best part about taking a class in person at a conference like this is that you walk away with more than just the information you need to pass the class, you're surrounded by professionals just like you with great tips and tricks to help you get through your latest headache--and you've probably got a solution for one of their problems as well! The camaraderie and support you find from other like-minded individuals is the cherry on top of getting your CEU credits knocked out.
Yes, you read that right. Parties! For many attendees, the best part of a trade show is the after party. Not only do you get wined-and-dined on someone else’s dollar, you also get another opportunity to network with prospective business partners and vendors.
Did you get into the exclusive Speakeasy party TOPS Software and AvidXchange hosted at last year’s CAI Annual Conference in Las Vegas? A ton of people came out looking sharp in their best 1920s attire and many new business relationships were formed.
While these are some of the most beneficial areas that any trade show has to offer, there is still plenty more to do. You may not be able to check off every box on your to-do list, but if you prioritize some of the activities mentioned here, you’ll walk away from the event knowing it was worth your investment.