In today’s age of on-demand internet-available resources, there are some forms of learning that just can’t be replaced with technology. We as humans are naturally social beings, and learning conferences present a great opportunity to step back from the everyday groupthink of your office and think independently.
What type of conference could you and your company benefit from? Maybe one focused on marketing or general leadership skills? Once you home in on the event that looks right for you, it’s time to estimate the costs and ROI (return on investment) to justify an approval.
To begin your master plan, here are four major benefits of attending a learning conference:
- Refresh your perspective
Remember the enthusiasm, vitality, and overflow of ideas you had when you started your job? How much of that is still there? I’m willing to guess that you might not have that same alertness and excitement from when you first began, and that’s OK. We spend 40 hours a week or more at our jobs and it’s easy to get burned out.
This is why a learning conference could serve you well. Just as you step away from a project to clear your mind, sometimes you need to step away from your desk (and that back-breaking chair you sit in every day) to put yourself in a new environment. What’s great about learning conferences is that you’re breaking up the static, working to bring valuable information back and maybe even having an itsy bit of a vacation.
- Network with others in your profession
Yes, this is an obvious benefit of a conference, but hey, it’s an important one. At a conference, you can meet professionals who have been through the ups and downs of your field. You can discover how they overcame their tough situations and rose to success. What’s the purpose of a support group? To connect like-minded people who can share their experiences, and in the long run, help each other find possible solutions.
By connecting with people face-to-face, there’s so much opportunity to find out what works for them and how that compares with your practices. Perhaps you even have a success story to share with someone. Whether it’s waiting for the seminar to begin or having lunch, you should try to make conversation with those around you. Find out who they are and what brought them there.
- Learn about new tools and strategies
At TedGlobal 2013, author Tom Wujec gave a TedTalk promoting the idea of business visualization. He believes that you can use drawings and physical models to help you visualize and simplify your problem-solving methods.
In his video, Wujec presents his idea that drawing out how you do something can help you solve your problems. On multiple occasions, Wujec has asked a team to draw out the step-by-step process of making toast. Everyone knows how to make toast — it’s simple, right?
Well, what he always finds is that the steps drawn will vary with each group. Some groups focus on the change in the bread’s texture while in the toaster; some begin their process as far back as buying the bread from the store; some will even fixate on the experience of the person who is making the toast.
Once completed, the teams are left with a representation of how their collective mind broke down a problem. You can see if the thought process was too simplified, overly complicated, or maybe it had just the right amount of detail.
What a strange, off-the-wall way to analyze a team’s thought process! Speakers work hard to assemble presentations that’ll hold your attention and perhaps give you unique insights you hadn’t considered before.
- Bring back something valuable to your job
To me, this is the most important benefit of all. Since everyone won’t be able to go to the event, you (the lucky one) need to record valuable ideas and advice the rest of the team should know. Be sure to pack your notebook, laptop, tablet or whatever medium you’re most comfortable taking notes with. Save any key handouts from speeches you attended. An agenda could even be useful if you forgot the name of a speaker whose seminar you especially enjoyed. Some conferences may even have valuable content and resources available through their website, blog or app.
At Human Capital Media, we help create and promote a medley of learning events on a regular basis. Next week, Chief Learning Officer magazine will be hosting the Spring 2018 CLO Symposium in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for business professionals focused on corporate learning, human resources, and talent. Registration will be open up until the day of the event, March 26.
Not feeling three days in Florida? Check out the upcoming 2018 CLO Breakfast Club series that will be coming to a city near you this April through November. These one-day seminars will feature local leaders speaking on topics such as learning & development strategies, emerging technologies, and business solutions — all over a nutritious breakfast and hot cup of coffee.
Can’t make either? No worries. You can always catch up on our past events for free via the CLO Video Library.
Whichever conference you seek out and attend, it will be a great opportunity for you to enhance your work performance, examine your company’s business methods and exchange valuable information with others.