InterConnect 2016 Underscored the Value of Connection

By Renee DeLaune   |   March 4, 2016

Going to a conference? Wear your walking shoes and mingle, connect, and be inspired.


Last week, I was at IBM InterConnect 2016, one of the largest technology conferences in the world. It was just me and 23,000 other people—and a lot of walking and talking!

Let’s be honest: conferences are hard.

At this one, IBMers, customers and Business Partners were on the move all day, immersed in the technologies they were discussing, the trends they were following and the people they were meeting. One of our clients didn’t even surface for lunch! But that didn’t slow him down. InterConnect was his world, and he was thriving in it.

It might seem like the products and technology would be the most important aspect of a technology conference, but I found that what was really important was the crowd around me—the people. In particular, the key was meeting people I’d worked with via conference calls, email and instant messaging for years, but had never met. Why was this so important? Because once we’d met, we felt an instant connection.

It’s all too easy, in the normal course of business, to miss out on this interaction and on all the insights and teamwork that go with it. It’s too easy to look at your clients’ business from the outside. But good work happens when you become part of their world, when you step inside and have a chance to understand it more deeply.

And that’s perhaps the biggest thing I took away from InterConnect 2016. For two entire days, I had the chance to climb inside our clients’ world, to experience with them the heartbeat of their industry. And it was empowering to be with thousands of smart people focused on one industry.

So whatever your role, whether you’re the agency or the client, make the most of your next big conference. Make those connections, learn something new and exciting, get that insider’s view—and catch up on your sleep later!

Renee DeLaune

About the Author

Renee DeLaune is the President and Founder of DeLaune and Associates. Her insights on marketing in a variety of industries give a unique perspective on today's communication challenges.

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