As winter draws in, the main technology conference season also kicks off in Australia and New Zealand. If you are a manager of a team (large or small), you may be also be thinking about ways you can help to develop your colleagues (or yourself) – but need inspiration.
Attending a conference is one of the most used Professional Development methods across the planet. There are still people who think it’s all boring PowerPoint presentations, stale sandwiches and generally a bit of a “jolly”!
Conferences provide the opportunity to learn new skills, techniques and methods from people that they would never have access to in their day-to-day working lives. It is an investment in the professional development of all attendees.
The people that your team members meet at a conference can be extremely valuable. Networking provides the chance to meet with:
The content presented and shared at a conference is often not in the public domain. Seeing real screenshots, live demonstrations and lessons learnt from projects are just some examples of this. Get up close and personal with internationally renowned speakers, industry experts and influencers face-to-face.
Often vendors will also use conferences and exhibitions to release new products or services. The opportunity to try these out with hands-on demos could provide a solution to problems your company, or your customers, are facing.
Getting your staff to write up their notes and summarise their findings, will pass their (new-found) knowledge to a wider audience in your organisation. Often new organisational initiatives and plans are hatched based on what a colleague may have (or not) seen at a conference.
Attending a conference can perk up a team member that is possibly feeling a bit down or unmotivated. They will often come back feeling inspired and want to implement some of the ideas and things that they have seen at the conference.
Spending time away from the workplace can re-ignite enthusiasm and stimulate fresh approaches.
Attending certain conferences genuinely excites your team members because of their personal interests and passions. Connecting with like-minded people fuels energy and enthusiasm. Never underestimate how valuable an engaged and excited team member can be to your team!
Some of the knowledge gained can help increase profits or decrease operational costs immediately. Simply put: a smarter, more knowledgeable team will produce better results.
Attending a conference can set you apart in your industry; regardless of what that industry might be. Upskilling your team in certain subject matters may even make you stand out from your peers and thus can often be used to your commercial advantage; especially if the knowledge they have gained can be conveyed to customers when prospecting for new business.
External consultants and contractors will provide important skills and knowledge that your team possibly does not presently have. However, by upskilling your team members this can reduce too much dependence on external parties, resulting in increased confidence levels and reduced costs.
Footnote: Need to convince your boss? Download the template here:
Here is a terrific blog on The ROI of attending a professional development conference.
20% group discount available – register 3 or more attendees in a group.