Jessica Ledbetter

5 reasons to attend conferences

I’ve been attending conferences for a few years but sporadically. They range from those my job pays to send me to and those that I go to for fun. It’s time to start planning what conferences I go to next year so here’s my list of why I even bother.

Five Reasons to Attend

  1. Connect with others of like mind. I can’t beat the fire I get from attending a conference. The flow of ideas and passion is so energizing, I learn things unexpectedly in the hallway, and enjoy finally putting a face to the name I’ve seen in IRC or emails for months.
  2. Learn new technologies or how to use your technology better. Even when I attend one that I already know a lot about, I still usually learn something. Plus, in the crowd, I find more people to network with. I can also get exposed to a lot of different things in a short amount of time that I’ve been meaning to look at for some time but didn’t have the time. Sometimes it just takes someone walking through it in front of me and being available to questions to make me think, “Ok, I really am going to try this out now. It’s worth it.”
  3. Do something different. A change of scenery and pace is good. It helps refocus and, again, fire up the belly. Also, if it’s a conference I’ve been to a lot, I’ll switch it up by giving a presentation instead of “just attending.” Very fun.
  4. Check out demos in person. I like going down the exhibit areas and seeing demos in person. Sometimes you have to sign up to try something and then get called by salespeople. If I do it in person, I usually can just sneak up, play around with the software and slip away. But, if I have questions, at least there’s someone there to answer them.
  5. Free stuff. I love free stuff as much as the next person. But I really, really, really love free stuff from organizations that I enjoy. It’s good for them — advertising — and good for me — advertising something I want to continue to exist.

Have a reason I missed? I’d love to hear it! Also, if you know of some conferences I should attend, please let me know!

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