Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Value of a Great Conference

Every so often employers give their employees the chance to attend conferences as professional development options.  Now, not all conferences are created equal.  Conferences are what you make of them.  Some are brilliant while others can be pretty poor.  It all comes down to you.
  1. Keynote speakers.  These are the people that conference organisers invite along to fill the role of superstar.  Look for speakers that are proven and have a track record. 
  2. Network, network, network.  Be bold and talk to people.  Approach them before they approach you.  Look for common ground and similar interests.  Ask their opinion on matters.  You never know who you might be sitting next to.
  3. Plan ahead.  Think in advance about what you want to get out of the conference.  Write down some objectives and goals for learning.  Then structure your time so that you achieve those goals and can take home something useful.  Read the overviews and biographies of presenters, think of questions beforehand that you can ask.  Just plan.
Conferences can be fun and exciting.  Couple that with the chance to learn and implement new ideas - there you have the perfect professional development opportunity.

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