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.
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.
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.
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Credit: Photo by Nicolas COMTE on Unsplash