How Conferences Can Increase Your Value

As I’m preparing to attend the annual conference of one of my professional associations (October 3-6), I’ve been thinking about how a well-planned and well-presented conference can increase one’s value to employers. If you haven’t considered that aspect of your career management recently, I encourage you to give it some thought now.

Why Attend Professional Conferences?

I could list several reasons you might want to attend conferences. These are just a few:

  • The best conferences give you access to leaders in your field, with the potential for finding top-quality mentors to enhance your career growth.Learn from the best advice
  • You get a chance to meet new people and expand your personal as well as professional horizons.
  • If you participate in between-session networking opportunities, you get more “bang for your buck” and can become known beyond your local geography.
  • You might learn about new job opportunities before those become widely publicized.
  • The change of scenery from your work environment can refresh you mentally and physically.

Why You Might Not Want to Attend Conferences

I mentioned that conferences need to be well-done to be as useful as possible. A poorly planned and executed conference is likely to be a waste of time and money.

Worse, such a conference could demotivate you and send you back to work with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. It’s also not going to impress your employer if the company expected you to come back ready to contribute greater value in your work.

Important note: A conference can come with a high price tag, but that hefty investment doesn’t mean you’ll get what you pay for.

How to Judge Whether a Conference Can Increase Your Value

Depositphotos_54627367_m-2015You have at least a few tools to help you determine whether a professional conference has good potential to increase your value to employers.

Some steps you should definitely plan to take include:

  • Review all the available information about the conference, including breakout sessions, speakers’ bios, and so on. Does it sound as if there’s probably solid value in the offerings? Will there be time for networking between sessions  and after the last session each day?
  • Decide whether the conference fee seems more or less in line with what similar events are charging. Does it appear reasonable in terms of the content offered?
  • Find out if you know others who might be attending and with whom you could network productively.
  • Evaluate the potential pay-back for your investment in terms of being able to use at least some of what you gain from the conference after you return to work. Although you might not be able to set a specific dollar value on what you learn, you should have a pretty good sense that there will be a noticeable benefit if you implement your new knowledge or skills.

Can You Afford to Attend a Professional Conference?

My question each year actually is, “Can I afford not to attend this conference?” I suggest you ask yourself the same question. In the ideal situation, your company would pay for you to attend. However, as we know, that has become an increasingly uncommon situation.Future word conceptual in the future

So, again, ask yourself whether making the effort to pay for it yourself makes good career sense. Who knows what professional doors your attendance might open for you, either in the near term or down the road a ways? The result could prove well worth whatever planning and possible sacrifices might be necessary to make your attendance a reality.

P.S. If I can’t squeeze in another blog post before my conference, I’ll try to do one shortly thereafter, to share some of the great stuff I learn!

Comments are closed.