A seasoned conference-goer, I recently attended the Offshore Europe biannual exhibition in Aberdeen and pondered why people go to such events?To me there have always been three reasons for attending such things:

1. Networking – crucial contact and information gathering can accelerate understanding and insight into commercial developments;

2. Marketing – promotion of your business profile and raising awareness of interesting initiatives will hopefully gain you market share; and

3. Currency – ensuring that you and your firm are familiar with and, hopefully, ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation.In an era of depressed oil prices and apparently suppressed earnings potential, I was pleased to see the industry looking to the future and not dwelling on present turmoil.

Almost 1600 exhibitors were displaying their wares, initiatives and know-how to a more focused audience than previously dictated by favourable economic climates (or so I was told on more than one occasion), and attendees were more attuned to business than pleasure (also, apparently, a change from previous events).

My take from it was that people were re-energising their batteries and looking afresh at how their company can best employ that great more of management speak - human capital. Delegates seemed genuinely keen to learn and there was a plethora of information to take back to your office and use to update your colleagues.

I left feeling that, in a downturn, such events provide a focused and inspirational opportunity for those individuals and companies who are open to diversity of thought.

Those who can make a success in difficult times will undoubtedly thrive in the good, while those who prefer to hide their light under a bushel have probably picked the wrong approach. If ever there was a time to sing your song, this is it, and so long live the venue that enables you so to do.

So I returned home after 36 hours in Aberdeen reminded of a quote by Vincent van Gogh: “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”