Did you attend your association’s most recent annual conference or did you scan the speakers and the agenda and write it off as a total waste of time?
If you did participate, what is it that made you go? Tradition? The networking? Time away from the office?
Professional associations tend to meet at least once a year, or bi/triennially for larger regional and international associations. Alongside the membership and conference fees, and time spent away from the office, they often require travel, accommodation and social activity, needing to be budgeted for well in advance.
But is the investment really worth it after all?
Although (where your budget allows), I would recommend attending at least one local, one regional and one international conference every year, if you happen to be in the entry/early development stages of your business/career, and can attend only one of these, I would strongly argue that the national association congress is it.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. You will learn about the fundamental issues and developments in your industry, and how these may impact on your area of specialization.
2. You will also have a chance to expound on the key concerns in your area of specialization.
3. You will learn from both experts and peers about how to address the challenges you are facing.
4. From the concurrent exhibition, you may discover new B2B products and solutions available in the market.
5. You will grow your professional reach and additionally forge strong relationships with your peers.
6. You will most likely develop new insights from the knowledge program.
7. You can unearth new career and partnership opportunities, otherwise not advertised in the public domain.
8. You may learn about other events worth attending.
9. You can keep a close eye on what the competition may be up to.
10. If you feel you are an expert in your field, you should share information via a speaking engagement.
11. You will further learn about resources that may be of interest to you e.g. training, programmes, publications, blogs and podcasts.
12. You can also develop ideas for any content your company produces.
13. You will collect CPD points if the knowledge sessions are accordingly credited.
14. If you are not happy with the event proceedings, seize the opportunity for a steering role on the Board! You never know what doors this may open for you.
Written by Angela, our Business Development Director.
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