1. May 2006 05:00
Tim, our representative speaking ‘from the field’, gives his light-hearted angle on the day-to-day issues faced by medical sales professionals.
MOST OF YOU will have been to some sort of company conference this year. It probably involved a few nights sleeping in a box with a bed and a TV in it, in either a hotel near an airport in this country or a hotel abroad ludicrously far from one.
I apologise in advance, but I am about to debunk a popular myth. Going abroad for a conference is not fun, and that’s an end to it. It requires a day travelling there and a day travelling back that could be spent doing something far more productive and enjoyable, like admin or watching paint dry. You see nothing of the country you visit except for one free afternoon, which is usually spent in the local bars, and an organised evening in a restaurant away from the hotel. So much time is spent indoors that it is not until you get home that you remember how great daylight is.
Please don’t think of me as the Grinch who stole conference. I love these annual gettogethers. Each one reduces the cost per event ratio of my dinner suit. And I don’t have to cook or buy food and drink for a few days. Or make the bed.
And it’s not all about saving money and laziness. It is also a chance to meet up with friends made on training courses or at other meetings, a chance to network and make new friends, a chance to let someone else look after the kids and, for some, a chance to wear fancy dress to work.
Medical reps need self-confidence, but to go to a conference dressed as Elvis, a hula girl or a member of the opposite sex in front of your work colleagues shows a lack of inhibition that would make the Village People blush. But we need these delegates: they add a bit of colour to the drab hotel interior. I appreciate their presence immensely. I do, however, refrain from joining in myself. My feelings on this are the same as on many other things in life: I love to watch, just don’t make me do it.
But to go back to my previous point, and I am sorry to bang on about this, everything that makes a conference good can be done in the UK. So I appeal to my conference organisers: give us reps a treat this year – send us to Heathrow. Unless you were thinking of Japan. I’ve always wanted to go there.