Waste of time or must-see? The confidence that any conference is a party that does not cost money for a ticket, passes exactly when a participant admits to himself/herself: “But it was interesting!”.
Probably, the rest of us very often hear the opinion that this is a waste of time, and also money. Pro-Papers experts disagree with this statement and we decided to share with you our thoughts on the benefits of regular attendance of various events (professional forums, conferences, training) even for the most confident specialists with technological education.
Many people say: “Why should I pay X dollars for participating in the conference if I can get all the knowledge I need from the Internet?”
The opinion is quite correct if you do not take into account one nuance – the narrower topic that interests you, or the question with which you encountered in work, the less chance that you will easily find enough information about this on the Internet.
Whereas, at the conference, on the one hand, there is a large concentration of professionals in your area who can suggest something sensible, and on the other hand, there can be recognized gurus in this professional field who came to this conference with a report or a master class.
As a rule, they are open for communication, and you can get an answer to your question from a specialist of the highest qualification.
This option has some similarities with the previous one, but the difference is that the knowledge, the acquisition of which inspires you, is in the area “I don’t know what I don’t know.” “Often, when I attend conferences,
I get information that has little in common with my work. If you're lucky, and there is a strong speaker on the stage, you can find out a lot of things that you didn’t even know about”, says Rob Benedict, a Pro-Papers IT expert. “But then, when you embed this new knowledge into your own picture of the world, it can radically change the methods and principles of your work for the better”, says Rob.
According to him, he repeatedly met at conferences on technologies, which at that time were very far from what he was doing, and many times later he successfully used these technologies in his work.
Generally speaking, this option can be put first. Networking, the process of obtaining new acquaintances during backstage communication, in our opinion, is the most important element of any industry event.
Despite the fact that in today's Internet the distance between people has decreased to a few mouse clicks, nothing more powerful and more important than face-to-face contact has not yet been invented.
Well-recognized world-class professionals, leaders of local communities, specialists with their unique experience and knowledge - with these people you can drink coffee, have lunch together and ask questions that concern you, and you will not look intrusive or violate any social norms, because everyone is ready for this and come here for it!
Thanks to the contacts gained at conferences, many specialists got a job, which they are now engaged in and met some fantastic people, communication with which brings not only a lot of food for thought, but also a lot of fun.
A weighty argument in the dispute "whether to attend conferences or not " can be their price. Indeed, not everyone and not always ready to give three-digit dollar amounts for the opportunity to meet someone and listen to something. In this regard, we have three arguments:
• Firstly, conference fees are an investment in yourself, in your knowledge and your career. It seems to be almost as important as reading books on professional topics. Investing in yourself pays off good profitability.
• Secondly, if you have something to tell about the conference theme (and if you have been working in the industry for some time and have practical experience), you can try to take part as a speaker. On the one hand, it will help you improve your public speaking skills and advertise yourself a little as a specialist. On the other hand, speakers, as a rule, attend conferences for free.
• And thirdly, if you have neither money for a ticket, nor experience that you are not ashamed to share, you can try to become a volunteer. Many conferences invite people to help them with a small organizational work (such as registering participants, checking tickets, speaker assisting, etc.), and for this they allow to attend the conference for free. Such work, as a rule, does not take a lot of time, and in most cases you can access all the reports you wanted to listen and talk to everyone you wanted to talk to.
As you can see, conferences are diverse events. The largest of them are usually the most “multifunctional” ones, combining the roles of both reestablishing contacts, establishing and leading generation and catching trends. Some are needed only to charge inspiration for the year ahead.
The main thing to focus on is the need to prepare for the conference. Speakers usually understand why they go there. If you bought a ticket to the conference, be sure to decide how you plan to benefit from this investment. Often coffee breaks or socializing at exhibition stands (and even after-party) are more useful than event programs. And further.
Believe me, competitors fear is only in your head. By communicating, interacting, getting to know each other and finding key differences, you can earn much more and more efficiently together.
Therefore, even if it seems to you that you already know everything and that attending the conference can increase your knowledge by only 10%, this is 100% better than not going to the event at all. See you at conferences!