5 Tips To Maximize Your Conference Experience at ISM 2019


We’re gearing up for the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Annual Conference, ISM 2019, in Houston, Texas, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, one of the largest events in the procurement world with over 2,500 attendees. Whether or not your organization is attending ISM, it’s important to make the most out of any conference experience.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your time:

1. Look at the ISM schedule in advance so you can plan your agenda and develop a game plan

Today’s conferences offer a wide variety of breakout sessions including round tables, panel discussions, streaming presentations and workshops over multiple tracks, and the same goes for ISM 2019. These presentations will overlap so doing your homework before you arrive is critical to attain your attendance goal.

If you are attending a panel discussion or streaming presentation, prepare one question that you would like to ask during the Q&A portion. If time runs out before you are able to ask, follow up after the conference with the speaker or moderator. Are you attending the conference in order to fulfil education or certificate requirements? Make sure you know specifically what is required so you can earn the credit.

While it’s easy to get caught up in what’s required of you while attending conferences, remember to include time in your agenda to “smell the roses” and take advantage of enriching features offered. For example, at ISM this year, former CEO and politician Carly Fiorina and Former Chair of the Federal Reserve Dr. Janet Yellen are both speaking. Their decades of experience in business and finance offer attendees an opportunity to gain unique financial insights. Plus, JAGGAER is happy to be sponsoring ISM’s diversity breakfast panel, featuring even more accomplished women in procurement.

2. If you’re in the market to buy, consider this:

  • Where are you at in the buying process? Do as much research in advance of the conference on specifically what are your organization’s needs and then review the conference’s website for the vendors sponsoring the event. You can then prepare questions in advance so when you are onsite, you are prepared to make the most of this opportunity.
  • Take advantage of a demonstration. It’s a low pressure way of seeing the product in use. I even suggest setting up an appointment in advanced so you know you will get the attention you deserve.
  • Ask the rep if there are customers at the conference that can serve as a reference you can connect with. It is amazing what you may learn about a vendor when you speak to someone in person.
  • By engaging with the reps at the conference, you will also be able to weed out vendors for your leadership team. You will quickly discover if a product doesn’t meet your needs or that the vendor isn’t a cultural fit for your own organization.

Remember, the team of representatives a company sends spend a lot of time planning and preparing how to ensure they put their best foot forward, so a conference facilitates an ideal “shopping” experience.

If you’re coming to ISM 2019, stop by booth #637 to see what JAGGAER has to offer. We promise it’ll be well worth your time.

3. Pick up some swag

Don’t forget to grab the gift bags for the freebies but also collect the presentation materials for later reference. For example, if you stop by JAGGAER’s booth at ISM, you can pick up  a JAGGAER 3-in-1 charger and enter to win a free pass to REV2019!

After the conference is over, it will seem like a blur so hold on to those pamphlets and swag to remind and inspire you later.

4. Download the ISM 2019 conference app and connect on social media

Identify the conference hashtag (it’s #ISM2019) and follow the conference Twitter profile. You will get real time updates regarding changes and find out where speakers and your peers are hanging out. It’s also a great way to win giveaways and enter raffles. Many apps now offer a way to chat or message other attendees.  Which leads me to the final – and most important tip…

5. Network!

Don’t be shy. Strike up a conversation on the fly. There are multiple receptions, mixers and ancillary events. These are golden opportunities to bounce ideas off of peers and subject matter experts to receive their real time feedback. Face-to-face meetings strengthen supplier relationships.

Reach out through LinkedIn or their company websites to meet for a meal or coffee, or during the cocktail hour. Or plan to connect after the conference is over.

As a Bronze sponsor, JAGGAER will be hosting both networking receptions at ISM 2019, Monday and Tuesday evenings where attendees can enjoy a cocktail on us!

Lastly, after you return back to the office, prepare and share your highlights with the team and leadership. Communicating your experience, what you learned and how it will benefit the organization will validate the money and time you spent away from the office. It may help secure your next conference!

We hope to see you at #ISM2019 at booth #637!

And you can also find us at these tradeshows and events throughout the year.

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