In today’s hustle and bustle of everyday life and business, conferences are obsolete, right? While attendance at person-to-person conferences is dwindling, it might just be in your best interest to get yourself registered for one in the near future. Here’s why:
Peer to Peer Networking:
While most people tend to shy away from mixing and mingling with their competitors and peers, it has been proved that collaboration and idea sharing can be a good thing. Conferences within your industry can be a wealth of knowledge and your competitors can help you fine-tune your skills and provide insight into best practices for your business. Getting to know someone on a personal level and developing a solid business/personal relationship are a definite bonus to conference attendance. There is something about getting to know someone that can bring out the creativity in both of you. Bouncing ideas off of each other can assist both of you and deepen your understanding of industry trends, practices and ideals. This kind of collaboration can lead to better products, sales, employee training, higher profits and much more long after the conference is over. Give it a try; what do you really have to lose?
No one is perfect, and no one knows everything! This is true of you, your employees and all of your competitors. If you are going to be one of the best in your industry, it is imperative that you keep learning and that your employees are also well versed in the latest and greatest products, methods and industry trends. If you expect to move your company forward in today’s competitive market, attending at least 1 to 2 conferences a year should be a top priority for you and your employees.
Those leaders who are knowledgeable about their industry; its trends, practices and especially its consumers, and have educated staff, are far more likely to propel their businesses to the top. Ongoing education, or continuing education as it is known in many fields, is absolutely necessary to be successful. So, if you are spinning your wheels and haven’t taken a look at your industry’s latest reports or research, a conference may be just what the doctor ordered!
Being incredibly active in your industry can go a long way in making your mark in the rankings. Clients/customers will view you as an expert in the industry and they will feel extremely comfortable discussing business with you because of the solid reputation you have made for yourself. Those established as experts within a field are often asked to be guest speakers so that they may share their knowledge, insights and ideas with their peers. People tend to flock to the experts in an industry, so if you are determined to remain a best kept secret within your industry; you could be missing out on some serious business and great opportunities!
Your employees reflect on you. They also need to know the ins and outs of the industry and the products/services that your company has to offer so that they can handle day to day business transactions effortlessly and efficiently. A conference is a great way for your employees to become inspired, educated, and more self-sufficient as well as to further their understanding of the industry.
Products and Pamphlets and Salesmen, Oh My!
The product and supply hall of an expo or conference can be absolutely terrifying and daunting! Not only are they often crowded, but they are also teeming with salespeople just ready to pounce the second you enter the room. Don’t let these undesirable qualities deter you from viewing all the wonderful products in this room! You might just discover that talking to the salespeople provides amazing insight into the current business climate. You will also receive abundant knowledge on new and improved supplies, computer programs, services and much more that you might have missed out on, had you avoided the room. Learning as much as you can from these vendors about these items is crucial in remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced world. Make these people your friends; you won’t regret it.
By taking employees with you to a conference, you won’t feel alone while perusing all the wonderful products in those big rooms. It is also great to be able to discuss ways that these products can impact your company with your own employees while you are directly in front of the product and vendor instead of trying to relay all the information later. You might just be surprised by the initiative and knowledge of your employees, once they are given the chance to shine. Chances are, they will have some really great ideas that you may not have considered; after all two heads (or three or four), are definitely better than one!
Learn in a Fresh Environment
Sometimes, we all need to shake things up a bit to break out of a rut. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results. So, if you are continually utilizing the same methods or practices you always have, you will see the same mediocre results. A conference can break up the old routine and give you a fresh perspective on your industry. There are always new ideas and methods to be learned from peers and speakers at conferences that can be applied to your business. Sometimes, just getting out of your old routine is enough to spark inspiration and get you on the right track to success!
Your employees also feel the despair of being caught in a rut and will be most appreciative of the opportunity to get out of the office and learn new things! Consider switching up their office routine with some weekly team building activities or team meetings. Brainstorm with your employees after each conference session to find out what they really enjoyed and what they believe can be worked into the daily, weekly or monthly routines. You will see higher productivity, happier employees and an overall moral lift!
Birds of a Feather, Soar Together
Being in a room with so many individuals from the same industry can be a motivating and powerful experience. You all share knowledge about the same trade; so grab some neighbors and get busy sharing ideas, experiences and suggestions. Everyone at a conference is (hopefully) there to better themselves and bring fresh ideas back to their businesses. If you are going to commit to attending a conference and taking time away from being at the office, make it count! Use your time wisely to collect all the ideas, information and education on the conference topic as possible and ponder how this information can fit into your business. Get caught up in the educational frenzy that learning can incite.
Conferences can be a wonderful way to bond with your employees. Use this time as an opportunity to promote team building activities and spend some quality one-on-one or small group time with each other. When employees feel valued and cared for by their boss, they are much more likely to go above and beyond what is listed in their job descriptions. Those teams who play hard together, work even harder together.
Make Connections, Face-to-Face
The internet can be a very useful and wonderful tool. However, we have let it consume our lives in almost every aspect. We can purchase items off Amazon with the touch of a button, view the news without picking up a paper, and talk to family thousands of miles away via Face Time. We live in a truly amazing and digital time in the world’s history; yet, nothing can quite compare to a good, old-fashioned sit down talk with another human being.
Talking to someone face-to-face is an art that is quickly falling to the wayside. Even in everyday business, most communication is done via phone or e-mail. These types of impersonal communication can often lead to miscommunications, as it can be hard to determine tone in an e-mail and it can take twice as long to obtain answers to questions or hash out details than if a personal meeting had been arranged. Attending a conference will allow you and your staff to communicate with experts and peers on a much more personal level (face-to-face); which, is often the superior way to communicate. You will find that not being in front of a phone or computer screen can be quite liberating and you can brush up on your communication and etiquette skills as well. It’s a win-win situation.
Take a Chance- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
To be successful in today’s fast-paced, every man for himself world, you need to be able to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. If your business is struggling or sales are stagnant, it’s time to shake things up a bit. A conference will spark inspiration, provide ideas to help boost your confidence, and get you back on track to reach your goals. If the thought of going it alone absolutely terrifies you, bring an employee or two with you to help ease the conference/people phobia. Sometimes, we need to break out of our old routines in order to get a fresh perspective and update our information; a conference is a wonderful way to accomplish this goal.
Modeling risk taking for your employees is important, so they see that you are aware of your own areas of improvement. They will respect you for wanting to better yourself and will desire to follow your lead. They will also appreciate the fact that you allowed them this opportunity to better themselves as well.
You are worth it!
A big part of being a better business owner is admitting that you are worth it. It’s conceding that you have room to improve and that you still have things to learn. A conference can be a solid investment for you, your career and especially your company. By purchasing a ticket (or tickets if you are taking some of your staff) to a conference and attending it, you are showing that you desire to be better. You are investing in yourself, your company, your employees and your own growth. That is a powerful message!
Stay Competitive and Ahead of the Game
What good does a dull axe do when attempting to cut down a tree? Oh, you’ll get the job done eventually, but not nearly as quickly and efficiently as with a freshly sharpened axe. The same applies to skills in the workforce. One of the most important goals of attending a conference is to return from the conference with new ideas and methods that will make you more efficient and effective at your job. In order to stay competitive, you cannot continue to be the one chopping away at the job with that old dull axe, while your competition utilizes a sharp axe to cut the tree in half the time. Be the person who creates a better, more time efficient way to cut that tree.
Well-trained and knowledgeable employees are among the best defenses that you can have in today’s business world. They make better business decisions, less errors and are excellent problem solvers! Investing in their continuing education by encouraging them to participate in conferences will help push your company to the top.
New tools, supplies and technology are always an exciting part of every conference! There is always an abundance of representatives from different companies available to give you some hands-on demonstration of their latest and greatest products. Be sure to spend some time getting to know the background, specs and upgrades for some of the products on display. Use this time to ask questions about the products at the conference or even other products that the company has that may not be on display. You may find some really great deals or very valuable information that you would have missed out on if you had just sat behind your desk, as usual that day.
Vendors are always happy to divulge the ins and outs of their products, so why not utilize the one-on-one or small group time to help gain a different perspective on the industry and possible ways to improve in the areas where your company struggles. Conferences can be a gold mine in regard to tips and tricks! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and collaborate; your business will thank you!
Be Sure to Have Fun!
Even though it may not be the most important item on this list, it is still an important part of the conference experience- have fun! Conferences can be amazing! It may be tough for an introvert to step out into a conference environment, but the end result will be worth the initial bravery test.
Many people experience trouble stepping out of their comfort zones and meeting new people. Our world has become extremely digital and our people skills have suffered tremendously because of it, but meeting new people and networking is absolutely crucial in today’s business world. It can be a scary thing to strike up a conversation with a total stranger; but chances are, they are just as intimidated as you are to say hello. It takes practice and courage, but the rewards of creating new relationships and networking lines are incredible! Conferences provide endless possibilities in this arena, so sit at a lunch table with some new people and just start talking. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to actually talk to someone face-to-face. You might have paid a lot of money to attend the conference, but the connections you can make are priceless!
So, Why Go?
It’s simple. You owe it to yourself and your business to be better. No one is perfect and there is ALWAYS room for improvement. In today’s crazy, busy, social-media driven world, human connections are beginning to dwindle. If you are in a closed-door office every day, it’s possible to go hours or even days without interacting, personally, with another soul. Although it is great to utilize You Tube videos, blogs, podcasts and webinars to improve your skills, nothing compares to a live event that provide learning and career building opportunities that cannot be found online.
Building a powerful and well-rounded team is yet another plus to attending conferences. Allowing and encouraging employees to attend conferences is one of the best investments you can make. Each employee will absorb information differently, so the more employees you invest in, the more perspectives you will receive when they return from the conference!
These live events can hold the key to your next big business breakthrough! Don’t view conference attendees as competitors; be sure to make new friends, ask questions, collaborate and collect information. The way you view participating in these events will greatly impact the results you receive. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for your next conference today and start moving forward!
Corporate Car Worldwide can help you book your conferences, hotels, restaurants, airport shuttle, and personal car service to and from conferences.