Should You Go to a Conference?

No matter what your hobbies or career choices, eventually you’ll be faced with going to a conference. Should you go or not?

The short answer is yes. You should go.

The longer answer begins with “it depends.”
Here are three things to consider when you’re decidig whether or not to go to a conference.

1. Budget

Unfortunately, conferences aren’t free. Some are more expensive than others and only you can decide if it’s worth the cost or not. If you’ve never been to that conference, it’s difficult. How can you know if a conference is worth the mone if you’ve never been? (Talk to others who have been, evaluate the speakers, etc.)

Aside from the conference fees, though, remember the travel expense and vendors. Many conferences have books or other merchanidse for sale. That needs to be considered when you decide on your budget.

2. Education

Depending on your profession. you have to have to have a certain level of continuing education credits. Because of that, you might be hesitant about going to another conference for something you don’t have to do. I understand that.

The thing is, if you don’t go to conferences that aren’t “required,” you’re behind on new advancements and upcoming trends by the time they hit the stores. That makes you scramble to try to keep up. Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting you should chase trends. Keep with what you know and love, but be aware and ready to change or adapt if there’s something new coming up that you want to incorporate in what you do.

3. Connections

Conferences allow you to network and meet with like-minded people who work in similar areas as you. Yes, you can meet people in groups on Facebook and other social media platforms, but there’s something to be said for meeting people face-to-face in real life. The shared connection of the interest the conference caters to makes networking and meeting new people easier and less awkward.

The people you meet can become friends, mentors, coworkers, collaborators, and even fans of your work. They can help you promote your work and you can help promote theirs. It’s almost like having a built-in street team.

What else?

There are many more reasons to attend conferences. I couldn’t list everything here, so I thought I would focus on the top three. What did I miss that you think is an important consideration? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Live & Learn … Or Get Brain Rot

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Photo of reporter’s notebook by grafixtek on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

This is something I’ve said for years. I don’t know if I came up with it or if I made it up. But it’s true. If we aren’t learning, we’re not growing. At best, we’re stagnating. At worst, we’re deteriorating.

To that end, I like to go to a couple conferences a year. And I read a lot and watch informational videos on YouTube.

Last month, I wasn’t able to go to one of my favorite conferences. This week, I’m making up for it. I found a free conference with great content. I didn’t have to go far to find it either. It landed in my lap. I saw a Facebook ad for it.

My point here is, our lives, our creativity, depend on learning. We don’t have to pay a lot for it. But we do have to invest time. That’s one thing we claim we don’t have enough of, yet everyone has the same amount of time in one day. Take 15 to 30 minutes out of your day to read or watch a couple short videos.

Learn something. Your brain, and your creativity, will thank you.