I attended the WorkBoat Show in New Orleans in December and gave a presentation. I learned plenty at the show and from attendees at my presentation. When I go to these events I try to learn whatever I can, because you never know when you’ll need to tap that knowledge.

For example, two years ago I went to the WorkBoat Show to represent not only me but also my column. I ended up learning all I could about the emerging use of liquid natural gas (LNG) and how it will affect delivery and usage of LNG in outlying island nations. The Caribbean uses diesel for much of its power and as we know diesel is expensive and somewhat dirty. What if an enterprising company set up the infrastructure to convert power down there to LNG in the islands? It would save money, help the environment and, if done properly, could be safely delivered.

How will that help my knowledge base? As that LNG delivery method improves and the power plants convert to LNG, I’ll be able to offer reasonable insurance to the companies because of the understanding and knowledge I gained at a trade show about an emerging technology. I’ll be able to educate the insurance underwriters that I deal with. For me, this is a win-win. 

I gained this insight because of the way I approach trade shows. They should be viewed as an opportunity, not as just an obligation.

You too can sometimes be drawn in a different direction in your business dealings by gaining knowledge that ties in with what you do and increases your capacity to succeed. 

Most people attend these events to see friends and look for new items, but you should also look for new opportunities to grow your business in ways you never expected.

A collection of stories from guest authors.