Making the business case for attending a conference isn’t the easiest task. In both time and money, it’s hard to argue the ROI when you can find so much out online. But the team over at Administrate, are big believers in blended learning – and that means investing some time in face to face interaction, and getting out and about. Ryan Cochrane explains the benefits…
In this post, we want to illustrate the true value of going to conferences and how you and your company can get the most from attending.
Confession time: we’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as we’ve got our annual EdTech conference LITE 2017 coming up on September 21-22. So here’s the reasons why, from the perspective of the planner, we believe that a conference still delivers immense value.
1. Networking, Networking, Networking
Even the best workplaces can have the tendency to turn into idea vacuums. Conference provide the perfect platform to challenge the status quo, meet like-minded professionals and talk about your passion. Need a conversation starter? Fear not! You share experiences with 99% of the room every day. Whether you’re faced with a nightmare problem at work, or looking for a way to get ahead a conference allows you to ask around and see if someone’s already thought up the answer. Knowledge leads to knowledge!
How do you get the most out of meeting new people? Prepare. Get a list of the attendees in advance, and work your way through it. Once you know who you want to talk to, hop on your e-mail, LinkedIn and Twitter, and start making those early connections. That way, when you arrive at the conference, you’re not stood in front of 100 nameless faces. Preparation doesn’t stop there though! Prepare your introductions too. Nobody wants you to be a robot, but you should have a quick line or two up your sleeve to introduce yourself, your role and your company. New to the industry? Don’t worry! Consult with colleagues on how to pitch yourself, or sit back and learn from others.
2. Relationship Building
There’s very little that strikes more fear into a team than the words “Away Day”. And with good reason! Breaking from routine, and being forced into fun, isn’t for everyone. Enter conferences. Conferences offer an opportunity to step outside the daily routine and socialise in more relaxed surroundings. From the word go, and the very start of the journey to a conference, the bonding can begin.
Even the negatives can be a positive! Remember when Tom had to change the tyre at the side of the motorway? What about that weird guy who sat next to us the whole way? These stories help sow the seeds for camaraderie, but also help attach a story to the learning of the event – enriching the retention of the experience. These shared experiences are a fantastic way to break down the barriers between senior and junior employees, or on-board new employees and graduates who may be struggling to find opportunities to expand their network beyond their own company.
3. Stay On Trend
Are there new innovations and challenges on the horizon? If it’s discussed at conference, it’s almost certainly on-trend with what’s important within your industry.
Conferences are an amazing opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse, feedback to your company, and share your experience. This can also help with your personal development, through positioning you as the company thought-leader on a subject!
4. Embed and Share Learning Back at Work
Are you guilty of going to conferences, absorbing lots of great information, then returning to the office and immediately diving back into the daily routine – giving no further thought to what you just learned?
We’ve all done it, but it’s obviously not conducive to the knowledge-share we all champion within the business world. Conferences can be a great aspect of blended learning, make sure you’re linking it in with your other learning activities. We ask employees to present their conference learning highlights upon their return to the office at our weekly company meetings. That way everyone gets to benefit!
Ready to get your conference boots on?
Click here to book your tickets to LITE 2017, and enter ELUCIDAT30 at the checkout to get 30% off today!
Guest writer Ryan Cochrane is part of the team at Administrate, a training management platform for training providers.
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