As organizations continue to incorporate a “virtual workforce,” it is important, now more than ever, that leadership encourages employees to participate more with live, in-person settings with others from the business community.[i] One of the best ways for employees, both remote and non-remote, to engage with thought leaders and innovators is by attending conferences. When two or more people begin to discuss topics on a deeper and more personal level, the outcome and potential for those involved become invaluable.[ii]
The Role of Conferences
The role of a conference is to gather like-minded individuals from across the country or across the globe, to learn, discuss thoughts, network, share ideas, create new ideas, and to ignite motivation. The benefits of attending a conference are different for everyone. By attending a conference, individuals are expanding their professional and personal development, and are provided with insightful information that couldn’t be taught internally from within the organization or online.[iii]
The Advantages of Attending Conferences
Fresh Perspective – There are many advantages to attending conferences. As Dr. Stephen Covey so eloquently says, “We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.”[iv] Sharpen the Saw meaning preserving and enhancing the greatest asset an individual has – which is themselves. By seeking continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally, an individual keeps themselves sharp.[v] Essentially the analogy is saying that sometimes individuals must step away from the “work” of their work in order to sharpen their work skills. There is no better opportunity to sharpen one’s skills than at a conference.
Networking – Developing a strong professional network has become one of the key prerequisites for professional success.[vi] In fact, research indicates that successful managers spend 70% more time networking than their less successful counterparts and that people with rich social networks are better informed, more creative, more efficient, and better problem-solvers than those with limited social networks.[vii] Industry conferences provide a tremendous opportunity to network. Attendees from other companies and from other areas of the country can become valuable resources for referrals, new ways of thinking, solutions, and best practices.
Learning – Another advantage of conferences is that they provide a blended learning environment with multiple opportunities for individuals to learn and engage in a wide array of formats. Conferences typically provide special guest speakers, breakout sessions, one-on-one engagements, group outings, and events for social interaction. The learning facet of a conference can expose attendees to new ways of operating and can help them discover ways to be even more productive.[viii] Whichever way an individual learns best, there are multiple ways to learn something new and impactful.
Spark New Ideas – Conferences are a great way for employees to be inspired by fresh ideas, to start rethinking the status quo, and to hopefully leave ready to tackle business challenges in creative and innovative ways.[ix] Conferences also allow individuals to share their progress, hurdles they’ve come across, and techniques devised for solving them.[x] After hearing from leading experts and visionaries on how they found success, attendees are inspired and encouraged to think outside the box, which leads to successful outcomes for the organization.
TTA Values Conferences
At TTA, there is an immense value placed on both attending and presenting at conferences. We’ve spoken at the Brandon Hall Women in Leadership Summit with Rianne Honhoff, IM/IT Manager for Shell, Tammy Bohen, Global Head of HR for KitchenAid, and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer for Brandon Hall Group, to discuss how organizations can do a better job of supporting initiatives that prepare women for top leadership roles and strategies to advocate for the business benefit of these targeted initiatives. The takeaway from the conference, for the entire organization, was invaluable. Our team continues to be inspired and to grow thanks in part to these truly wonderful events.
TTA encourages you to attend a conference and share in our comment section below your thoughts. For more information on conferences that TTA will be attending, visit our Events page.
[i] 5 Reasons You Should Attend a Conference in Your Field.” Mastercard Biz, www.mastercardbiz.com/2013/06/19/5-reasons-you-should-attend-a-conference-in-your-fiel
[ii] 5 Reasons You Should Attend a Conference in Your Field.” Mastercard Biz, www.mastercardbiz.com/2013/06/19/5-reasons-you-should-attend-a-conference-in-your-fiel
[iii] Curtis, Simon. “Why Do People Attend Conferences? 5 Key Reasons.” CurtisCoulter, Curtis & Coulter, 20 Mar. 2018, curtiscoulter.com/why-do-people-attend-conferences-5-key-reasons-for-attendees-and-event-organizers/
[iv] “Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.” FranklinCovey, www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/habit-7.html
[v] “Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.” FranklinCovey, www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/habit-7.html
[vi] “Five Steps to Conference Domination: How to Make Valuable Connections at Spark.Me.” Domain .ME Blog, 13 May 2015, domain.me/five-steps-to-conference-domination-spark-me/
[vii] Freifeld, Lorri. “Interpersonal Networking Skills Make Leaders More Effective.” Training Magazine, 4 Apr. 2016, trainingmag.com/content/interpersonal-networking-skills-make-leaders-more-effective/
[viii] 5 Reasons You Should Attend a Conference in Your Field.” Mastercard Biz, www.mastercardbiz.com/2013/06/19/5-reasons-you-should-attend-a-conference-in-your-fiel
[ix] Editor, The Muse. “Best Conferences to Attend in 2018.” Free Career Advice, The Muse, 19 Feb. 2014, www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-conferences-to-attend-this-year
[x] “Our Blog.” What Is the Purpose of a Conference Meeting | ConferenceAlert, www.conferencealert.com/blog/what-is-the-purpose-of-a-conference-meeting/