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Is there value in attending conferences?

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Jun 19, 2014 12:19 EDT

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"Is there value in attending conferences?"
By Mark Evans, GlobeandMail.com
May 5, 2010

As small businesses consider how and where they are going to spend money, one area that can be difficult to assess is the value of going to a conference.

For many small businesses, the cost of a conference can be significant – whereas larger business can roll them into a marketing or sales budget. In many ways, however, conferences can be a great investment by providing attendees a way to capture the spotlight.

Here are some tips on conference attendance:
  1. Pick a conference that meets your needs: It sounds simple but focus on whether the conference’s programming features keynotes, panels and workshops that are relevant and have the potential to provide new information or insight. Look beyond glitzy keynote speakers and whether the conference is being held in a glamorous or warm-weather location. It’s important to keep in mind that you will likely not be spending much time as a tourist so location can be irrelevant.
  2. Take some time to assess the networking possibilities. Figure out who’s going to be there, and how they can jump-start your business through new sales or partnerships. For many conferences, the networking opportunities can as interesting and valuable as the keynotes, panels and workshops. Be prepared to introduce yourself to a lot of new people given the fact a good conference can be a great place to meet others with the same interests, needs and challenges.
  3.  Calculate the total cost of attending a conference. This includes the cost of the conference registration, travel expenses, accommodation and meals. Then there is the cost of being away from your business for a few days. Can you afford to be absent to attend? Are there other people who could handle some of your responsibilities while you’re away?
  4. To get the “scoop” on a conference, ask your peers and colleagues for their suggestions and recommendations about what conferences to attend, or whether a particular conference is worth attending. Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook can be great ways to broadcast a question, and get responses from a wide variety of people.
In many respects, going to a conference is a major investment of energy, time and money. Going to the right conference can provide a huge return on investment by introducing you to new opportunities and people that otherwise would have never presented themselves.
 
 
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Details

The costs can be significant, but that investment can pay off

Relevant Subject and Topic
Human Resources, Leadership/Management, Start-up, Growth/Expansion, Inspiration & Advice, Workshops and Courses, Networking

Types
Article

Features
Informative

Format
Document

Copyright Owner
Globeandmail.com

Most Suitable For Use By
Entrepreneurs, Facilitators, Instructors, Learners, Policy Makers

Age Appropriateness
Adult(19+)

Grade Appropriateness
Postsecondary, Graduate, Adult General

Geographic Suitability
All or Non-Specific

Language
English

Version History

Date Edited
Notes
Jun 19, 2014 12:19 EDT
edited subject & topic
Dec 11, 2012 14:14 EDT
moved