I had the great honor of presenting in person at NoCo Hemp Expo last week in Denver, Colorado. After a year of virtual presenting, I was apprehensive about how returning to live presenting in the middle of the pandemic would be. I am glad to say it was ok, and so much fun!
I shared the stage with Bob Hoban and Tim Gordon, two industry legends. We talked about FDA regulations and so much more. It felt like three old friends chatting in a living room about important industry issues. It was casual and just perfect!
I was asked about how to plan for the future of the hemp industry.
I spoke about the importance of conducting safety studies which companies like Burdock Group and NutraSource can help with. We review this here. I also felt it appropriate to share a quote about resilience from my late father Arnold Waldstein. This is my company mantra but also applies to anyone who is struggling to build their career and company during this pandemic era.
The main stage was reminiscent of a large concert or Tony Robbins event, with our faces on screens over 30 feet tall. This allowed the presenters to be seen from the spaced-out tables in this huge building.
We wore masks while entering and exiting the stage and microphones were sanitized for each individual. I felt very safe and comfortable!
Colorado Governor Jared Polis was on the stage shortly after us. I look at this as an endorsement of the safety protocols put into place. I am interested in how events are reopening in a responsible way. NoCo seems to be helping to define this.
On the show floor, I admittedly initiated several awkward fist-bump/handshake greetings with old friends. We all laughed and smiled from underneath our masks.
The event required all attendees to fill out health screening and temperature screening before being admitted, and booths were spaced apart. You can read about their COVID guidelines here.
It was held at the three-story National Stockshow Complex which is huge! Foot traffic was directed in a one-way direction and there was adequate spacing between all booths. There was plenty of hand sanitizer available and I wore my N95 the entire time except while on stage.
I even got a chance to take a picture at this booth, which has innovative products combining hemp and non-psychoactive mushrooms such as reishi. We talk about considerations when adding CBD and other nutraceuticals here.
What Is the Future of Tradeshows?
The event shows how much pent-up demand for human connection and standard tradeshow networking there is. As an avid trade show exhibitor, I have attended over 100 shows and have been reflecting on what the future of trade shows looks like. I can see a future where trade shows are a hybrid approach, with educational and booth “visits” happening both virtually and in-person. Virtual attendance and exhibiting helps lessen the carbon footprint required to travel to trade shows and has cost-savings benefits as well.
What virtual does not capture is the chance meetings with an old connection in the hallway or a new client who just happens to be walking in the same direction on the trade show floor. This to me is the core of trade shows and I have built my career developing these impromptu relationships, which I am thankful to say have resulted in great friends and a successful business.