GUEST BLOG BY SABRINA CADINI
Have you ever attended an industry-related conference? If so, how often do you attend? Once a year or more? If not, what is holding you back from attending one?
I’m a huge advocate of continuous education, it doesn’t matter whether you are new in the industry or you have a decennial experience in your field. You should always learn: in this fast-paced world new trends, technologies and practices come out every single day and it’s our job to keep up to date in order to offer the best service to our customers. That applies to any business and you should attend a conference pertaining to your specific industry at least once a year.
Conferences are the best place to learn business strategies and the latest trends from the best and most successful in those industries. In order to be a better professional, you need to learn from those successful professionals.
Why You Should Attend
- Learn best practices, products and trends from successful professionals
- Get inspired and consider new ideas for your clients
- Experience the trade show floor to compare products, services, and their prices, discover new suppliers, and figure out which solution might work best for you. If you are interested in specific products, you can see and touch them and get to meet the supplier in person
- Meet and network with colleagues and create relationships – These could be business-related and then turn into friendships. It will expand your network and circle of influence. It will also allow you to discuss what works best in their area and maybe you can put it to practice for your own business
- Position yourself as an expert – When you are active and engaged in your industry, you get more attention, you are more respected and you may be asked to speak at future events. Customers will love to work with you because of this as well
It’s very important that you attend the conference in person! Don’t be tempted by those special offers saying “If you can’t attend in person buy the entire block of sessions for half the price of your registration and listen from the comfort of your home”. Tempting it is but, you will miss out on the networking and engaging part (a priceless component in my opinion). Resist to the temptation and just go! You will have fun with your peeps, you will engage in great relationships, and you will come back home recharged. People say “live meetings are done, the internet is here to stay” but I don’t agree, in-person conferences are still successful and definitely worth the investment.
Speaking of investment, conferences can be quite expensive especially if you are starting your business and you want to learn from these 3- or 4-day events and you don’t have enough to invest. However, there are some conferences that offer a one-day attendance option so you can start with those ones. Fees can range between $300-$1,000 or even more depending on the type of conference and that does not include your travel, accommodation and food. It can definitely be a big expense but you are investing in you, in making your career (and business if you’re a solopreneur) better and more profitable. What you learn at a conference might land you more new customers so the conference paid for itself (and you made money)
How To Choose The Right Conference
Do some research and see who the speakers will be, what content will be shared, and what levels of education will be offered (beginner, experienced, etc.). Also, create your conference itinerary after you register and the program is available: choose the sessions and speakers that most interest you. If you’re attending with a colleague or with an associate of yours you can assign different sessions and do a recap to each other at the end of the day.
There are several conferences that you can choose in your industry, and there are always new ones every year. Also, professional associations normally organize their own annual conference so you might check them out as well.
Always aim for bigger and successful results in your job or career path: by attending conferences on a regular basis you will keep yourself up to date in your industry, raise the bar and become a better professional for yourself and your customers.
Sabrina Cadini is an award-winning Event & Wedding Designer and Planner in San Diego, California. After 500+ weddings and social / corporate events, 20+ years of experience, 10+ awards, and 3 industry certifications, she is now offering coaching and consulting programs to wedding professionals who want to boost their brand and success. You can find her planning beautiful celebrations at www.ladolceidea.us and educating entrepreneurs in the wedding industry at www.sabrinacadini.com