Conferences aren’t getting any cheaper. Between registration, airfare, accommodations, additional learning labs or exhibition fees, and per diem for food and other expenses, you could spend a couple grand without even trying. Yet we keep attending conferences and trade shows. What makes those steep fees worth it?
1) New, Cool Stuff
The coolest products and best tech solutions are often revealed at conferences. Think about it; it’s the perfect time! Lots of attention and the presence of industry leaders is the optimal time to reveal cool stuff. Often there is also introductory pricing or specific show offers.
2) Unparalleled networking
You meet cool people at large gatherings. Sometimes they’re colleagues whom you can bounce ideas off of, sometimes they’re mentors, and sometimes they’re future leaders. Either way, often the networking and expanding of your professional circle is worth it!
3) Great ideas to bring home
This is going to likely be through programming and interacting with pros. Every time I attend conferences I come home with lists of ideas! Some are fully formed and some are half-thoughts and they’re not all winners, but there’s always a ton of thinking and planning to do when I get back. Sometimes they turn into game changers!
Sometimes after you look at the budget and weigh the pros and cons you have to decide that it’s just not for you this year. Bummer, but that’s ok. There are still ways you can join the conversation! Social media is a great way to observe what’s going on without actually being there. Research and find hash tags and follow on Twitter, or connect with speakers you’re interested in on LinkedIn or through mutual friends and colleagues and see if they would be interested in talking about their presentation sometime or sharing their slide deck. It never hurts to ask!
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