It’s Conference Season

It seems that the minute we decide which conferences, conventions, or events to attend, more cross our path.

Often invitations to attend an event come immediately on the heels of the same one that just ended. Those events may have slightly different themes, but fatigue sets in regardless. And they are attended by the same people with a smattering of newbies attending.

So, let’s take a moment to decipher how to separate the wheat from the chaff (a fine midwestern USA term).

 Do you know which events are best for you?

With so many opportunities, deciding which events you should attend, and which you can ignore isn’t simple.  The consulting side of our business suggests you consider your priorities to select industry events that will benefit you and your business.  These criteria may help you decide if it’s worthwhile for you to spend valuable time at an industry group function. These are not in any particular order of prioritizing rationale.

Rule of thumb – will you monetize the effort ?  In every day terms, will you get what you paid for?

  1. Networking opportunities:  Networking is one of those terms used as bait.

Actually, it is the  worst reason to decide whether or not to attend. Will you make connections with professionals, experts and businesses that could turn into valuable relationships, collaborations, partnerships and develop new business – or is it just a party with the “usual suspects?””

  1. We have provided several post event surveys through our CustomerCount platform and in every case, networking was the #1 reason for attendance. So networking is a given.
  2. Remove that as a reason and then make the determination. We spent as much as $20,000 to attend an event that had 150 attendees. Great networking – zero business.
  3. Knowledge sharing: A very good reason to attend. Are you interested in the keynote speakers, panel discussion and workshops on the agenda, or are there better ways to gain valuable knowledge, stay updated on industry trends and learn about best practices?
  4. Exposure to new technologies and trends: will you be able to uncover the latest tech, products and services which will impact your business? Are there technology partners you might meet to enhance your products or services? Our opportunities to enhance our Enterprise Feedback Surveys with AI, text delivery, text analytics and more have all evolved from discovering new tech at industry events.
  5. Professional development: some conferences place a lot of weight on personal/professional development.  Is this what you are looking for? Will this conference enhance your skills and knowledge? Is this the place you need to go to for pep talks on time management or can you pick up the information online?
  6. Market intelligence: will your strategic planning be supported by gathering market intelligence about competitors, industry benchmarks and market trends? . I find attending conferences and workshops are  best way to find out what my clients and prospects are being told.  You can bet your competitors are there.
  7. Showcasing products and services: will your brand visibility be enhanced by showcasing your products or services to an industry targeted audience? Do you trust attendees and promoters to respect proprietary information that may be part of your presentation?
  8. Recruitment opportunities: Looking to hire? Or be hired? Conferences with a concentration of industry professionals make them a great place to look for new talent or to get yourself a new position.
  9. Influence and thought leadership: Are you on the path to establishing your company or yourself as a thought leader? Sponsorship and speaking can enhance your credibility and help your attract potential partners.
  10. Cultural exposure: Conferences frequently bring professionals from diverse backgrounds and cultures together.  Will this conference lead to a better understanding of global perspectives?
  11. Motivation and Inspiration: Do the attendees have the potential to motivate and inspire you?  Will you come home enthused or just exhausted and peopled out?
  12. Access to experts: Does the event allow you to interact with industry experts, ask questions and gain insights that you might not get elsewhere? Or is there a division between “attendees” and “leaders.”?

To have a successful conference select events that best suits your needs and plan ahead.  Set clear objectives and go forth boldly.