You have identified a great industry conference, but how do you convince your manager to approve it? There may be budget push back or a general uncertainty on the value to the company. How do you make your case? After all, it isn’t just about getting free stuff and time away from the office. Conferences offer great benefits to help you stay ahead in your career while adding value to your organization.
- Networking: This is one of the main benefits of attending a conference. Interfacing with others in your industry is crucial in expanding your network. Be intentional about making connections and exchanging information. Develop a plan to reach out to key contacts after a conference via LinkedIn or another method of follow up. Look for ways to help your new contacts by connecting them to others in your network. Chances are high it will pay off in the future.
- Stay ahead: See what’s new and don’t get left behind. Conferences provide the latest and greatest in new technology and business processes. Stay ahead of the curve and familiar with new innovations.
- Continuing education: Many conference offer credits for continuing education. Do your research ahead of time and grab sessions that meet your continuing education or certification credit needs.
- One-stop shopping for products and services: Conferences provide all the latest products and services in one spot. You have the ability to compare and contrast various products, weigh costs and benefits and access solutions for your organization.
- Connect with industry leaders and pioneers: Access and connect with great thought leaders and speakers. Make the effort to stick around after they speak, it is well worth your time to add them to your network.
- Invest in yourself: Take charge of your learning and growth or you can become stalled in your career. Seek out ways to learn new things and get reenergized. Conferences offer up fresh intellectual capital to keep you learning and growing.
- Find answers to company “pains”: A conference often provides an “aha” moment where a gathering of a “brain trust” of technical professionals comes up with a solution to a problem or actionable steps to address workflow or product issues at your company.
- Bring value back to your organization: Focus on bringing key learnings, industry updates, or contacts back to your company. Prove that return on investment by sharing with your colleagues and manager within the first week back at the office.