April 20, 2019 |

Conference season is upon us.  I find conferences energizing and, if I am honest, stressful – it is difficult to take time away from daily work, clients, family, etc.  I return to piles of work, piles of laundry and general mayhem.  It can also be time consuming and expensive.  Being self-employed, I pay my way and know many professionals are in the same position.  It can be tempting to not go.  I’ve had to catch myself delaying registration and concocting not-so-creative excuses in the past.  This is from someone who values professional development!

During a discussion last week a colleague said, “I also want to go learn and network, but there are too many obstacles in the way.”  This got me thinking about some strategies I have used.

Mix it Up

Get some variety!  Some of my best thinking and subsequent work comes from outside my field.  Once I began expanding options, I realized that cost, location and time varied wildly.

Go Local

Skip the plane and hotel, see what’s happening close to home.  Don’t doubt the value of a Chapter and Regional conference.  Bigger is not better.


Attending a conference does not need to require multiple days.  I have found top quality half and one-day conferences.  Easy to tack onto a business trip!


When cash flow is tight, volunteer to help and plan.  As a business owner, reduced conference pricing is always welcome


Many conferences provide full registration to speakers.

Band together

We all have limited time.  A few years ago, a group of us each attended a difference conference – then shared notes and conducted a debrief.

Take it online

Here is one I have yet to try!  I’ve heard of conferences streaming sessions for people who cannot attend in person. Could be really interesting.

Every year I write out objectives and goals for myself – including professional development.  Five years ago, I began including attending conferences.  This helps me prioritize and make it happen.  And, having a break from daily work and clients helps me refresh.  To borrow a phrase from my Dad, “it sharpens my saw”.

Let me know if you have other strategies and ideas.

The Métier team will be attending a number of conferences – including Sponsoring & Exhibiting at #acmp2019 Change Management 2019 and #atd2019 Association for Talent Development. 

Need resources to manage change?  Learn more about Métier’s staffing services.

Interested in building change capability in your organization?  Learn about our consulting expertise.

Credit:  Photo by Nicolas COMTE on Unsplash

kris plummer

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