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A few months ago, we posed the question: are conferences dead? We weren’t sure at the time, but, after recently attending a conference in Florida, we’ve got some more answers.
Our experience at the recent conference was very similar to a normal event pre-covid. There were lots of events and activities going on within the conference and people were generally treating it like a normal event. For those of you that love conferences, this should be very encouraging to you!
Going forward, hybrid-type conferences are probably going to stick around. There are lots of positive things about this method of getting together, but there are also things that you can’t really receive in a remote format.
Now, when you go to a conference, you shouldn’t go for information. You should always attend an event to make connections and build relationships with people. It’s not bad to learn at conferences, but most of that learning can come from talking to people who are passionate about the same things as you. This is the item that might be missing from your remote conference experience: connections with people in person! You might be an introvert, so this might be the factor that you are glad to be apart from, but, there is so much value in being able to chat with someone face-to-face.
If you are attending an event, go to the keynote presentations and listen to what the speakers have to say, but the most important part of these days is what happens after the event is over. Take the time to interact with other people in any way. That can be getting dinner or drinks with other attendees or simply having side conversations with people throughout the evening. These conversations generally lead to getting more information and insight than you could ever get during the event itself. The real meaty party of those conversations probably could not have happened remotely.
If you don’t love going to conferences, try being a vendor instead. Vendors generally do not attend the main events, and they get a lot of free time. This means that they have more time to meet people and connect with them over a load of topics. This is a great way to learn what other people are doing for their businesses and maybe even partner with an organization to make your company even better. B to B relationships are very important, and being a vendor can lend you the time and experience to make those connections.
It’s important to pay attention and look for the really engaging parts of conferences. Sometimes, they aren’t found where you were expecting them. Listen intently to the Q and A sections of speeches and create side conversations throughout the event. This will ensure that you get the most out of any and all conferences that you attend going forward.
If you had to boil it down to what a good conference looks like, it’s all about building relationships. So, we don’t think conferences are dead. Hybrid systems will stick around, but conferences are here to stay!