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The value of business seminars/conferences

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com.au

Sitting at your computer or work desk, you can feel there are too many things to do in a work day so why try squeezing in a seminar or conference as well?

Or maybe cash flow in your business isnít great at the moment so itís very hard to justify attending a business event.

But there is enough value in such events that it is worth considering them occasionally.

Why go to a business event?

The main reasons that business events are worth considering are:

  • It gets you out of the house and away from your business. This is good for you and also gives you distance that can help create ideas and solve challenges
  • You get to communicate with other people. You may learn from their mistakes/expertise, you may find some information about your target market, you hear fresh ideas, you can meet potential suppliers and joint venture partners, and you use/practice your social skills!
  • You can learn a lot from the speakers at such events, on topics relevant to your industry or to business in general. You may be surprised at how much useful information and ideas you can get from even a poor event.
  • There is the possibility than you can tell people about your business Ė many events have networking opportunities, some allow attendees to announce their name and business, and some even allow attendees to distribute business cards/flyers at the event.
  • A good event will motivate and inspire you, meaning you will be more productive in the days following the event.
  • Mixing with other business people is encouraging Ė you know you are not alone in the small business world.

Is it worth the expense?

The price of events can vary greatly, and is not always an indicator of the value of information received. I have been to great free events and mediocre expensive ones, so donít just use the cost to choose an event.

As long as the event is business or industry related, the cost of attending will be a business expense that you can use as a tax deduction.

When choosing the value of an event, there are a number of factors to consider in determining if the price is worthwhile. Some initial points to look for are:

  • Is the topic of interest to you?
  • Is the topic relevant to you and/or your business? (No matter how cheap the event, a seminar on using a PC as a cash register is useless if you donít have a real life shop)
  • Is the seminar being run by a group that you know or that has a good reputation?
  • Do you know of the speaker(s)? Do you respect them enough to trust their information?
  • Are any extras included in the price? Sometimes the price includes a meal or snack, a set of notes, a book, a CD or a goodie bag
  • How long is the event? Obviously, you expect a weekend conference to cost more than a two hour seminar
  • What level will the information be pitched at? Are you expected to have a certain amount of knowledge or experience to understand the presentation?

How to get the most value from an event

Each event is run differently but there are some general points that will apply to most, if not all, business events you will attend. The benefits of attending can be maximised by:

  • Listen carefully to the speaker(s). That means listening to the tone of voice as well as the words as you can sometimes get ideas and understanding by Ďlistening between the linesí.
  • Take notes as you listen. You donít want to write down every word as then you wonít be listening, but writing down any key points, references and ideas you get will help you remember the details later. Writing also helps you remember the information better anyway.
  • Arrive before the start time. Not only does this reduce any stress about running late, it will give you a chance to look at any materials provided by the organisation and/or speaker.
  • Be willing to talk to people Ė before, during and after the event. This can be one of the most valuable parts of the entire exercise so donít waste it. It doesnít have to be intellectual or obvious business talk, just make contact with some people.
    Although it is easier to walk into an event with someone you know, you may have more success networking if you attend by yourself.
  • Put at least one idea or piece of information to use within 24 hours. This cements the ideas and makes use the motivation from the event.
  • Contact anyone you networked with within 48 hours Ė better yet, within 24 hours Ė especially if you can help them in some way (maybe they mentioned needing a mechanic and you know one or they couldnít find a website about widgets so send them the link to one.)
  • Review the speakerís website beforehand and read their articles or blog afterwards to support what you learned at the event.
  • Consider taking a client with you to some events. It gives you time with that client and builds the relationship while also giving them information and networking opportunities
  • Check for other events held by the same group as booking for a few at a time often makes each event cheaper (for example, one seminar is $35 but three are $90 if booked together.)


 

Clear communication is critical to the success of any business, but it is often left to care for itself in many businesses. Tash Hughes is a professional and skilled writer who makes technical and otherwise boring information accessible for everyone a business needs to communicate with. Next time you need webcopy, articles, newsletters, reports or any other business document, visit www.wordconstructions.com.au to see how Tash and her team can help your business succeed.

This article is available for free use on your web site or in your newsletter.

It must be acknowledged as written by Tash Hughes of www.wordconstructions.com.au and copyright remains the property of Tash Hughes.

Please notify us of your use of this article or to request information on commissioned articles.

 

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