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With Dreamforce just around the corner — Salesforce’s annual showcase, which draws over 100,000 people annually to the city of San Francisco — I have been pondering the value of in-person meetings and events.
In our technology-saturated age — when faces, voices, ideas and information reach us instantly from across the globe — great gatherings of people, and even small person-to-person visits, can seem a little antique and, some might say, simply too much trouble and expense. However, I think that attitude is mistaken.
Dreamforce is a big event for AHM since Salesforce is the platform on which our technology is based and, although it is a large investment to attend, we believe in the value of meeting face-to-face with our Salesforce team, other partners and customers. It is a key to our growth and success. I firmly believe that the benefits gained of seeing individuals, exchanging a handshake and or a laugh and “bonding” however briefly, is a key element in developing strong and productive human relationships. Person-to-person meetings spark serendipity, create new opportunities, and expand and deepen whatever connections we have formed through other means. In other words, they are the foundation of a good, lasting business relationship!
AHM shares this belief. It is why we make significant investments each year in supporting and attending industry conferences. What you get out of the events is usually out of proportion to what you put into them.
On a personal note, my belief in the value of face-to-face is reinforced when I watch my teenagers cocooned in their technology and observe the level of discomfort they have when they need to speak a word over a phone call, much less participate in a face-to-face interaction. It honestly frightens me. That threat to the current youth generation, which I feel needs those traditional skills in order to build strong relationships and eventually take on leadership roles, is really the same challenge “we” face.
Taking the time to make direct, personal connections with others in our industry ensures that what we do the rest of the time matters and is really attuned to our colleagues, far and wide.
Of course, for AHM, the challenge is additionally complicated by the fact that we enthusiastically support both kinds of interactions — traditional, live, face-to-face meetings as well as those that are virtual. We have adopted with the industry supporting events that are virtual and those that are live, and although there has been speculation that technology would eliminate the need for the live interactions, we have not found this true. The industry has settled on a combination of live and virtual events, driven by the business situation, to interact with their customers. And we know that the ease and the economics of the latter are of vital importance; it would be unrealistic to even consider doing away with our new tools for communicating and sharing. But sometimes, it is absolutely worthwhile to step away from our screens and keyboard and reconnect in the real world.
Susan Hill, SVP, Global Products & Solutions, AHM
Susan joined AHM in June of 2013 and is responsible for the oversight and management of AHM’s Global Business Development and Solutions and Marketing team. With over nineteen years of experience in the Life Science industry, Susan brings experience in business development, product marketing, and new technology investment and optimization.