Professional conferences- are they yawn inducing or vital to your business’s growth? Well, sometimes they are both! There may be some events that are a bit dry but a well run conference will be both stimulating and help the growth of one’s company. You might be considering attending a conference in your field and wondering if it is worth it. Sometimes there is travel involved or you feel that the cost outweighs the benefit. There is also the matter of taking time out of your regular schedule to dedicate anywhere between one and seven days to attend a conference.
We are at a point in time where so much business is done digitally. Work from home, remote tele-commuting, online tele-therapy- even medical diagnosis and treatment is done online. We strongly appreciate the ease and flexibility that the advances in technology allow us in regard to home/life balance. Working from home has many benefits but it simply can not provide the same qualitative element that is gained through face to face meetings. When people get together over a common interest or shared goal- the potential for intellectual growth and creative power multiples many times over.
Below are three great reasons why you should attend professional conferences:
Whether you are required to take continuing education credits to maintain certification in your field or you are looking to further your skill set- conferences are an ideal way to learn a whole bunch of stuff in a concise amount of time. When you attend a conference you can select specific topics you would like to learn more about. Sometimes conferences have tracks that you sign up for, such as at the OurCrowd Summit which is held annually in Israel. This global tech summit offers participants various workshops happening at the same time so that they can select the ones that most applies to them. Conferences also tend to have a mix of both traditional/lecture style type sessions, panel discussions and even small- group discussions. Some events provide experiential learning such as at South by Southwest conference which takes place in Austin, Texas. This media event allows participants to try out cool new music products, tech tools and VR exhibits. The hands on learning familiarizes event goers with the latest products out there and educates them on how some of this tools might be incorporated into their business.
Whether you work from home or in a standard office there are only so many people you can meet and network with in your locale. When you attend a conference or professional event you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Conferences usually build into their agenda time for conference goers to mingle and network. Some of these might be more formal while others could be less so- such as cocktail parties or fun speed networking games. Either way, by attending a conference you make valuable contacts to help grow your business. If you are a startup looking for a VC or a mentor or you are a professional who is looking to share knowledge- conferences are the place to be. Be prepared to explain who you are and what you do “ an elevator pitch” of your business or product. Make sure to have business cards handy and try to push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone. Introduce yourself and strike up conversations throughout your time at the event. Sometimes the greatest networking situations can come about in unusual settings- like standing on line for the restroom or walking in the hallway on the way to the dining area. A chat with a stranger could possibly lead to your greatest networking connection.
Conferences are amazing opportunities to have fun. Many conferences are sponsored by companies and they want the attendees to really enjoy themselves ( as they are pushing products or services and want positive associations) CiscoLive, which is held in various international locations and is taking place in Barcelona in 2020- really ups the ante when it comes to fun for the attendees. Past years including musical showcases, light and acrobatic shows and of course lots of swag. Every event you attend will have giveaways- some more exciting than others- but no matter what you will definitely come home with some goodies. If your conference is being hosted at a resort or hotel you can enjoy amenities such as pool, spa, restaurants and bars. Also, attending a conference in a new city, whether in your home country or on the other side of the world, can be an incredible chance to experience new cultures and settings. Many people feel that when they are at a conference they can “let their hair down”, so to speak. Away from everyday life, conferences can be your chance to take risks and try new things you wouldn’t ordinarily do.
When you take the time to attend a conference you are setting aside time for YOU. Even if you are going into the conference intent on focusing on the learning, networking or having fun- chances are you will experience some of all three. After attending a conference you will walk away with new ideas, experiences and knowledge to take back home. This can be refreshing and rejuvenating for you on a personal level and a boost for your business. There are so many professional conferences that are held throughout the year. They may be called expos or summits or something else altogether. No matter what they are named- they can be truly positive experiences for you as a professional.