Why You Should Attend Conferences

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Whether you're a small business owner, a consultant, a middle manager or a hobbyist, there are several reasons why you should attend conferences in your particular discipline.

It may seem that in this world of social media, video conferencing and the crazy world of the Internet you can get just as much information by staying behind your desk and letting your fingers, or mouse or touchpad, bring you all the latest ideas, but the benefits of face-to-face networking cannot be over emphasised.

Attending a conference, seminar or even a trade show gives you the opportunity to gain a wide ranging exposure to new ideas and to get a different slant on your business. Sure, the lectures and presentations are an important part of any conference and while you can learn so much from these, it's the unseen benefits that you will look back on afterwards, often at the expense of the presentation handouts.

Much of the value you'll get from attending a conference or seminar will come from the times in between sessions, during the coffee breaks and informal times. These 'social networking' times will allow you to develop new contacts and explore ideas with others from your own industry.

Many people tend to shun such open, informal discussions for fear that a competitor may gain an advantage, but often by collaborating and sharing you'll gain many new ideas and give your inspiration a kick start.

By expanding your personal contacts at a conference you'll gain an invaluable pool of resources that you can use later to bounce around ideas. And don't neglect the opportunities to put forward your own ideas. By participating in discussions you may be able to enhance your credibility with your peers, and potential customers, who will feel comfortable dealing with someone held in high esteem by their colleagues.

Don't neglect the trade shows, either. Skipping these to avoid being cornered by a sales person is a bad mistake; vendors and exhibitors are naturally at the sharp end of their fields of expertise and can give you pointers to the latest trends and possibilities. Develop contacts among suppliers who can keep you updated with technologies in the future.

But perhaps the biggest reason why you should attend conferences is to have fun! By remaining inside your own closed environment you run the risk of having the world pass you by. Take the time to relax; most conferences include extra curricular activities, such as golf, parties or relaxing tours of the local area. You can even extend your conference visit by tagging on an extra day or two at the end.

So don't hesitate any longer, sign up for that conference today and enjoy the many benefits.

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