You know the drill, the annual industry conference comes around and you look at the prices of flights and accommodation and before you know it you have talked yourself out of going this year. The costs add up, the travelling eats into our personal time and we wonder, just what is the benefit both to the company and to us personally of this activity, if any?
Before you delete that entry in your calendar though, you might want to consider the following three reasons why you should spend the money and the time to attend one.
First and foremost you should make going to this event about yourself – for example do you want to learn something new, then attend the sessions where you will learn the most. Conferences are where the experts go to hang out and you get to hear their genius first hand, make the most of the opportunity.
Networking is not just for your business, it is also for yourself and your future career or business . Making connections at conferences can reap rewards later so make sure you arrange to have coffee or a drink with people you find interesting or who are a step or two ahead of you in your field. This is an opportunity to grow your circle of influence and deepen those relationships you already have.
For your business
Bringing back new information, particularly with regard to spotting trends or new opportunities is one of the best reasons for going. And will potentially bring the about the biggest ROI if it gives you a head start over your competitors. Speaking of competitors where else do you get to see them all in the same room, at the same time? The chances are that you will hear useful conversations and this could gain access to the kind of business collaterol it could take months to gather in the normal course of your day.
Meeting new suppliers and gaining insight into new products coming into the marketplace can also turn out to be invaluable business information. Not to mention the possibilities of meeting new partners and third party suppliers of supporting products and services to enable you to grow you business.
Let’s not forget that your might be faced with your ideal clients here too. This is particularly true for those of us engaged in vertical markets. You can use the opportunity to set up meetings for when you return and your expertise and passion for your business is much easier to convey face-to-face than via an email or a phone call.
For the fun
Yes, really, for the fun. Bigger conferences have social events and parties built around them to enable their attendees to relax and enjoy themselves and there is absolutely no reason not to do so. Smaller conferences will at the very least offer the opportunity for an informal meal with new friends and contacts at the end of the day. You will be working hard, meeting new people and setting up appointments in the day and all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
Bear in mind however that many report their biggest deals and most useful new connections were made in the queue for the coffee at breaktime or in the bar after the day is done so don’t discount this as wasted time.
Finally – make a point of enjoying yourself, we are most successful when we do so in whatever activity we engaged with, and your career and your business will reap the rewards in the future.
Cloud2020 will be attending the Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas this year. If you would like to grab a coffee or a drink with Ian or Lucy there let us know via twitter or Instagram
Wendy Clifford is a writer with a longstanding interest in Technology and its impact on our lives both from a business and social sense. She can be found listening to music (analogue, digital and in a field with a Gin and Tonic), writing and reading, or scavenging for free food from the hedgerows which she turns into jellies and jams. Connect with her via Twitter @wendyjclifford