7 Reasons It Still Makes Sense to Go to Professional Conferences
We have such easy access to information today. The web offers us so many different ways to meet, learn, collaborate, express ourselves, monitor and measure that it’s almost dizzying. We use our desktop computers, tablets, smart phones—even gaming devices—to quickly connect, research, share, comment and update.
Is there even any need to leave work and attend live professional events anymore?
It still makes sense to go to conferences and trade shows. Perhaps now more than ever before. Here are seven reasons you need to get out from behind your desk and join other members of your profession at a live event.
1. Renew your excitement about the work you do.
Too much time behind a desk or in front of your computer can cause you to feel a little stale and stodgy. While there’s a world of information available to you online and 10,000 ways to create and consume content, getting out and hearing from people who are doing what you do, but differently, can reignite your enthusiasm.
2. Meet online friends and colleagues face to face.
We all have the ability to make strong, positive, professional connections using digital technology today. We’re able to connect, collaborate and share information easily and quickly—there’s no denying that. Yet, there’s something powerful about meeting your online contacts face to face, something that serves you and your company well in future business dealings.
3. Learn industry trends and how they’re implemented.
Professional conferences specialize in finding compelling subject matter and top-notch speakers for their sessions. Attending the event and learning about the latest trends and how they’re being used in your industry augments your knowledge base and gives you something valuable to bring back, and possible apply, to your own work.
4. Evaluate new vendors.
Most professional conferences include vendors whose reason for being is to connect with you and educate you on their latest and greatest products and services. You may find new tools you were unaware of, tools that could provide a solution to problems your company, or your customers, are facing.
5. Develop ideas for content based on sessions.
As business communicators, we are often tasked with the job of developing marketing and public relations content for our businesses and clients. In addition to providing educational value, conference sessions can spark new ideas for content.
6. Make connections with industry media.
Effective marketing, public relations and social media campaigns are built with strong relationships. Making connections with industry media can be invaluable. You never know when you may be able to be a resource for them, which in turn can make it easier to place stories and build buzz when you need to.
7. Get out of Dodge and just have fun.
Then there’s the fun factor. While this last reason may not be at the top of the list for your manager, boss or client, people who include fun in their lives tend to be happier, healthier and less stressed. Think of the fun factor as an investment in your own health and well-being. There’s a lot to be said for getting away from your day-to-day work life and having fun.
Justifying the cost
Mike Doyle, founder of the Documentation & Training Conference, a semi-annual, bi-coastal event for technical communicators, has put together a handy conference benefits worksheet to help you make your case.
Doyle advocates identifying what you will bring back to your organization as payback for their investment in sending you. Take time to review the session descriptions and match them to your company’s knowledge requirements. As Doyle cautions, don’t assume your manager will automatically make the connections between conference programming and benefits to the business. Make sure you can clearly articulate what the company stands to gain.
So yes. There are tremendous and very real benefits to leaving your workplace and attending professional conferences.
And, in case you were wondering which professional conference you should consider attending? It’s not too late to sign up for the Vocus Demand Success 2014 conference in Washington, DC. Block out June 5 and June 6 for a whirlwind tour through the latest marketing and public relations trends and hear from top-notch industry experts.
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