A lot of business happens digitally these days. Every day, we use the Internet to network, create, learn, promote our brands, and so much more.
Despite the burgeoning presence of virtual interaction in almost every industry, there are still numerous reasons why embracing the face-to-face experience of attending a conference can help you advance professionally. Here are a few of the top reasons going to a conference, convention or event related to your field is worth the time, effort and money.
1. Forging relationships near and far
One of the most exciting aspects of conferences is you never know who you will meet. These events draw like-minded professionals from all over the state, region, and sometimes even the world who have different experiences and histories. You can connect with new peers in no-pressure and casual environments while attending workshops, lectures and social activities. With so many uniquely talented, knowledgeable individuals in one place, you’re bound to meet someone you wouldn’t have otherwise but who can offer something – feedback, advice, insight or leads – that will help you. Also, you can spread your name far and wide by establishing your presence and distributing your business information, according to a blog post by Global Data Management Systems.
2. Invigorate your passion
Whether you’re a recent grad just embarking on a career path or an industry leader at your peak, we can all use a little inspiration from time to time to keep us connected to our passion. According to a post by Thom Singer on MasterCard Biz, “Industry conferences can add a layer of enjoyment to managing your career growth by mixing a social aspect into your learning and industry branding efforts.” While at a conference, you get to listen to keynote speeches from incredible speakers, participate in interactive activities, and learn more about your profession and field. Often, these features are designed to engage, excite and invigorate attendees. You can use them to refuel your drive to continue pursuing your business ambitions.
3. Support individuals and your industry
In an article posted on the Huffington Post Blog, Insightfully Co-founder Chirag Kulkarni talks about the importance of giving back to the community. What he means by that, in terms of attending a conference, is being there shows support for other entrepreneurs and the field to which you all contribute. To go one step further, use a conference as a chance to inspire someone younger or newer to the job than you are. Offer them your email address and support, or take a meeting with them to hear their ideas and provide feedback.
4. Get a tax write-off
If none of the above reasons convince you, or you’re still worried about the associated costs of attending a conference, know that certain fees can be deducted as long as they have a business purpose. Often, you can list conference fees under the Professional Fees section while filing your taxes. If you travel for the event, you can list a percentage of your meals, conference fees, airfare, and lodging costs under Business Travel. Find out more about business expenses here.
Whether you’re considering the value of a conference for yourself or your employees, keep in mind these events provide a one-stop spot to learn from others, to take note of what’s trending in your industry, to refresh your interest, and to promote your company or personal brand. Few other business tools are as multi-functional, which is why conferences have a value of their own.