When it comes to growing in your industry it is common to have to pay to play in order to access more resources, which often means investing in professional conferences. You may network at free events regularly, but, when is the last time that you paid for a conference or summit? If the answer to the question is along the lines of not often or never, you should consider investing in yourself.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of conferences and summits that happen simultaneously around the world to get professionals engaged and exposed to new information. So where do you begin? First, start by mapping out what industry conferences you want to attend. From there, you can measure the worth of the conference by the host of speakers, sessions offered, price, and the location. As you invest, you want to make sure that you will be getting access to information and paying for an experience that you can’t get anywhere else.
Simply put, conferences are career development opportunities. Whether you strive to become a CEO or launch your own business, being in the room with stakeholders and other like-minded professionals can give you a new outlook on your professional journey.
1. Be in the room with leaders and experts in your field
Paying for conferences can give you access to power players in your industry, and, believe it or not, there are executives and senior level people who lean toward exclusively attending major and paid conferences. Partially because they know that the people who are in attendance are invested in advancing their careers and for the prestige and clout of the organization hosting the event. When you position yourself to be in the same room as experts you can receive insight on how they got to where they are, get the scoop on industry insiders, and possibly have one-on-one conversations with them.
2. Learn new workplace strategies while being inspired
People often travel long distances just to be in a room full of powerful people who either have shared experiences or who they can learn from. Every year, thousands of women travel to be empowered through a series of events highlighting women who are blazing the trail corporately and to honor those who have come before them. This year at the Women of Power Summit, the timely theme is: “Undivided: Power on Our Own Terms” as women are requiring more in the workplace. Experts from different backgrounds will be educating attendees on everything from how to navigate challenging work environments to how to manage power and influence. For women who are on the move, this event is a “must attend.” Other summits like Black Men XCEL create opportunities for men to come together to learn leadership skills and to celebrate the accomplishments of black men that often go unnoticed.
3. Access invaluable information
Most people attending conferences are there for the learning opportunities and the wealth of information shared throughout the course of the event. One of the best ways to ensure that you access new and relevant information is to choose what sessions will be most beneficial to you ahead of time by reviewing the agenda. In doing this, you will be able to prepare questions for facilitators ahead of time and avoid missing out on any opportunities to learn something new because you were in the wrong room.
For companies sending employees to events, one of the ways that you can get the best return on your investment is to have those employees report back on what they learned. If someone is tasked with the responsibility of reporting on the conference, those who were not able to attend can learn something new as well. One conference admission can go a long way.
Another way you can also discover new information is by experiencing the latest technologies in your industry through exciting activations demoed at conferences. If you are someone who is a visual learner or is big on hands-on experiences, then attending events where companies and their sponsors create those moments can be a win. For many people in tech, that opportunity comes every year during TechConneXt in Silicon Valley.
4. Create content
In this digital age, there is a grand opportunity for conference attendees to take advantage of gathering and sharing information with their audience as they are in the room in real-time. Professionals attending conferences can lead conversations around the information that is being shared on social media or through live blogging on-site. For those who aren’t in the business of breaking news or are not on social media, the opportunity to create content on what you learned and experienced still exists. You can share your takeaways from the conference online at a later time, with your company or with your clients who can benefit from the information.
5. Network, form partnerships, and take advantage of every opportunity
If you plan to attend an event just to be in the room, you just might miss out on a lot. Conferences like the Entrepreneurs Summit present attendees with the opportunity to be paired with mentors, participate in career fairs, and pitch their business idea in front of judges for the opportunity to build their brand.
While networking is a large component of conferences, it is important to remember to network around as much as you want to network up. People have the tendency to want to go for the keynote speaker ask for a business card, but, you never know who you just might sit next to when you’re at a conference. It could just be your next adviser or business partner.
Making the investment in professional conferences is all about expanding what you know, your network, and so much more.
If you’re looking for some of the most-sought out professional events year-round be sure to take a look at our Events page. There’s no waiting in line or waiting for registration to open up! Find the best event for you to attend and register today.