Rules of Engagement: 3 Tips for Maximizing Participation at Roundtable Discussions

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Posted by Guest Blogger

July 13, 2015

army-toy-soldiersRoundtable discussions are a great way to bring together people of differing opinions, experiences and viewpoints to discuss relevant issues. They can be especially effective and beneficial to attendees participating in these group forums at industry conferences. As we approach this year's premier workforce conference, be sure to take the time to maximize your roundtable experience.

When attending a professional conference, you can almost always anticipate leaving with some level of expert insight. Google hosts its annual I/O developer conference. Apple has the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). And, for managers of contingent labor programs, CWS is the best place to access the latest trends and best practices in contingent workforce management and procurement.

Hosted annually by Staffing Industry Analyst, the CWS Summit and CW Solutions Forum is the premier event that connects internal managers of contingent workers to the various providers that supply a number of contingent labor management solutions.  

The goal of the conference is to provide the most up to date information on the latest technologies, trends and strategies to manage temporary and contingent workers. As we prepare for the upcoming CWS Summit in Dallas from October 19 – 20, we'd like to stress one of the biggest, and often missed, takeaways.

For meaningful networking opportunities and untapped industry information, you must participate in a roundtable event. Typically composed of a dozen or so people, roundtable discussions are an extremely effective forum to discuss and debate specific agreed-upon topics.

The roundtable groups at CWS are typically composed of a wide breadth of participants which include everyone from an internal CW manager to a managed staffing provider to a vendor management technologies vendor. It’s not often you are awarded direct access to professionals who make a living in strategically and effectively managing this complex workforce. You can gain more than your fair share if you follow a few tips for maximizaing your participation in roundtable discussions.    

Know the Agenda

First things first, take a look at this year’s CWS agenda and determine in advance, which topics you would like to engage in. Get to know the topics in advance, and not as you are walking through the convention floor doors.

Do Your Homework

If you’re attending a roundtable, then you’re likely unfamiliar with the topic being discussed. Do your homework. List what you know about the topic and what you wish to learn. Prioritize your questions by identifying which discussion points have the biggest potential impact on your existing CW program. Keep in the mind that conversations move quickly. Now isn’t the time to be shy or hold back.

Be Present

You paid to be at this event. Get your money’s worth by being an active participant. Engage yourself in the dialogue, and remember it is okay to have a difference of opinion.

Also, it’s easy to get caught up in great conversations, but don’t let an opportunity slip past you. Get the contact information of those that were subject matter experts so you can continue to network and keep in touch. These are great resources for you even after the Summit.

When you get back to your office and your desk, you don’t always have an opportunity to revisit what you were thinking and talking about during the event. Make the most of your time at the event, even during breaks, by taking notes, connecting with folks on the spot and get familiar with cloud-based note taking apps before hitting the big show. However you prepare, we hope you get the most out of your experience. 

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Topics: Staff Management, Managed Solutions, Trending

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