Exhibitions are something I've been attending for many, many , many years.
In the Private Sector when I was just starting out in my career(s) I worked in food buying, the Scotland Food & Drink Show was the highlight of the year. Imagine walking around trying samples of food and drink that you couldn't normally afford and then taking away samples for your flatmates! I think we had cupboards packed full of the highest quality food when most of our friends were still living on the student diet of noodles and beans.
In my social life I've attended Wedding Fairs and Sci-Fi Conventions. I secretly love a wedding a fair, I love when my friends are getting married and we get to attend them. Where else can you play in a photo booth, see some extremely cool cars (did you know you can be taken to your wedding in the A Team van?) and try on tiara's? Also free cake.
Sci-Fi Conventions are great for meeting favourite stars of TV, Film and books, catching up with others with the same level of interest in graphic novels, and picking up some memorabilia. Attending Comic-Cons' San Diego and New York are on my bucket list.
Procurex, my first time. I was new into the public sector and working in an administrative role. It was like walking onto a stage for the first time and forgetting all my lines, I was blinded by the lights. Here I was a veteran of exhibitions and I had no clue what I should be doing, where I should be going and who I should be talking to. I spent the day safe on the APUC stand where suppliers could come and talk to me and I wouldn't get lost.
Year 2, I was finally a Procurement Manager. This was it, I was going to get the most out of Procurex. I wore heals. Mistake! My feet were killing me by the end of the day. I attended a few Training Zones which were really helpful, but I think I could have attended more. I still didn't have the confidence to approach suppliers on my own yet, what if I made a mistake and breached some obscure procurement rule? Eeep! A few colleagues took me round with them to show me how it should be done, and, well, I haven't purchased stationery in a year.
Year 3, Procurex 2017. I have come up with a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel (Blackadder anyone??), I have my ticket, I have a map, I have a post it note with the sessions I want to attend. I'm going to download the app tonight. I'm also going to pop along to PPoT stand to chat to people about PDN. Stands 63-75, next to the catering and networking zone, come say "hi". This is going to be my year, I'm going to get the most out of Procurex. It's going to be glorious!
I'll let you know how it goes.