In-person conferences are a great way to expand your knowledge, stay current on industry trends, network with your peers and get a break from the daily grind. But not all conferences are created equal. Here is a checklist of items to consider before registering for the next big “must-attend” conference.
A Good Location
While it’s great to be able to attend a conference that has pleasant weather or is hosted in a location you’ve always wanted to visit, those aren’t the only factors that should play a role in deciding whether or not a conference location is a good one for you. Is the location a place you can handle traveling to and from, both logistically and financially? Will the travel time and cost be worth the value you expect to get from the conference?
Session Topics that Interest You
Some of the most popular conferences, the conferences everyone you know is attending, aren’t the right conferences for you to invest your time and money into. If the conference doesn’t offer some sessions that truly interest you, you may end up going and benefiting just from the social side and not the educational side. Of course, the social side is an important part of attending conferences, but ideally, the social aspects will combine with rich learning experiences to give you multi-dimensional benefits.
A good conference is one that gives you something new to think about, get excited over and information you can use in your real life as soon as you get home.
We just touched on the importance of the social aspects of conferences, so who’s attending the conference you’re considering? You want to be sure the people attending are colleagues, prospects or other people you want to meet, network with and learn from.
This doesn’t necessarily mean all of your colleagues and peers will be attending. In fact, sometimes the best conferences to attend are those with attendees who can add a new dynamic to your work and thought processes that you would have no other way of meeting.
Another attendee-related factor to consider when registering for a conference is the size. Will the event have thousands of people attending, or will it be a much smaller group? What size suits your personality, needs and expectations best?
A Reasonable Registration Fee
Conference registration fees run the gamut. In order for a conference to be a good one for you, it has to be affordable and the value of attending has to clearly justify the cost. One of the best ways to measure the perceived value of a conference is to gauge how that conference can solve or help you solve an existing problem or challenge in your life.
While checking out the registration details, be sure to check what your initial fee covers. Some conferences have additional fees for certain sessions or events, so you’ll want to be clear on the total cost before signing up.
What makes you decide whether or not to attend a conference? What upcoming conferences will you be attending?
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