By Paul Cronin, Apogee IT Services
I spent some time on the plane back from an awesome conference in Chicago reflecting on my interactions with thought leaders, networking with my peers and meeting with a few new vendor contacts.
It’s that time of year, from February through May, when there’s week after week of industry and vendor conferences. They cover the country and, after attending a few, the hotels all look and feel the same. The days are long, the nights are late and if you aren’t careful, you’re sure to put on a lot of weight.
This year started off with NSCA’s Business Leadership Conference followed by CompTIA’s Community Event. Next is the Channel Partners Conference & Expo scheduled for April 9-12 in Las Vegas. All of these conferences are in addition to vendor events. For most of them I participate as a board director, presenter, panel moderator or panelist, which takes commitment but also brings a sense of reward. I’m fortunate that all of them are great events and I get a lot of value from them.
The question I often get asked by people is why do I participate in these conferences? Why do I take time away from my family, staff and clients and give myself twice as much work when I return? Is there a tangible return on the time, costs of travel and the conference fees?
The question is a good one. I thought about my past conferences and my peer’s responses when I asked them a similar question. I also thought about why I’m headed back to my eighth Channel Partners event on April 9th in Las Vegas.
The answer for me and most of the other people I asked was that the opportunity to benefit was far greater than the investment to attend. In fact, most I asked said their only regrets were that they hadn’t brought other team members with them or spent more time planning their conference schedule. This led me to conclude that the path to maximizing a great return on the investment of time and money to attend a conference is all about planning your outcome. If you do that, there’s no question that you will be way ahead for attending.
For me it has always been about being invested and planning what vendor I wanted to meet, what industry speaker I wanted to hear from and what educational sessions I thought would most benefit my company.
The people I interviewed shared some insights …