I’ve traveled around the globe numerous times and I get asked a lot of questions. One question that seems to come up most of the time is about seminars and conferences and why do people attend them. I’ll be honest. When I first started attending conferences, I was a little skeptical and I had no idea the true benefits that I could receive. Over the last fifteen years of attending conferences, and presenting at them, it’s become clear to me that there is no single, definitive answer that can apply to every attendee. It’s something I was able to learn over time through my own interactions. There are many educational and social benefits that come with attending conferences. And let me be clear, not only are no two conferences the same but please don’t confuse them with other events like trade shows. People attending trade shows have a different agenda altogether.
This blog entry is really to share, what I feel are, the top five reasons why people will attend a conference and the benefits they receive from attending. As a presenter of a conference, it’s important to ask your participants the reason they’re attending so you can better understand their needs. Here are the top reasons why people attend conferences:
Networking with Others: One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is to connect with like-minded people and industry peers. Conferences tend to bring people together from various geographical areas who all share a common mindset and goals. They are a tremendous way to meet new people. You’ll have the opportunity to get together with people from a variety of backgrounds, most of whom you would not have had the chance to meet working from home or being in the office. As you build out a professional network, conferences are great for building relationships with people that you may not have connected with in a while.
Others Networking with You: Not only do conferences give you a chance to meet people but it also gives people a chance to meet you. You could be a CEO or a first year grad student, there’s a chance that you could meet someone during a break, lunch or dinner that you connect with and that connection could potentially impact your professional career. Conferences are an additional way for you to get your name, your work and your brand out there as you start to establish yourself. This especially holds true if you’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to speak.
Present Ideas: This may be another obvious reason, but it’s still worth noting, that one of the reasons for attending conferences is for you to present your own work. It’s always good practice to talk about what it is you do with people from related or completely different areas of study. By being able to present, you will become more confident and it also provides a new perspective as you will be asked questions too that will make you view your business, your brand or yourself differently. Conferences can present the opportunity to receive feedback from those who are being introduced to it for the first time.
Increase Knowledge & Find Solutions: There will be a lot of things you hear, or are presented, that will be new to you. It could be tools to help you grow personally and professionally, a new attitude, mindset, philosophy or a new business strategy. Even learn from leaders in your field that you may not have heard of. Conferences will present the opportunity to talk to these new people one-on-one about what their latest projects or, perhaps, they may even give you advice on your own work. Conferences give you the opportunity to ask questions about their work and their thought process behind it all and that’s something you can’t do by just reading publications.
Learn Outside Your Box: You can benefit two-fold by attending conferences, you learn things outside your expertise, but many conferences also provide breakout sessions for career advice and professional development.
So why should you attend conferences? Everyone will have their own reasons for attending; however, my personal opinion is that attending conferences tremendously enhances both professional and personal development. It also provides an additional set of tools and skills which cannot be taught in an office environment or with an online course alone. Conferences tend to let you dig deeper and give you a better understanding of your topic of choice.
I hope you found immense value in my article on Key Reasons To Attend Conferences! If so, I think you’ll really like my recent article on Making A Great First Impression!