“To be honest, I am here for the free drinks”, a gentleman I befriended at a recent HR conference quipped.
Attendees’ indifference aside, the case for physically attending a conference seems to diminish by the day. New technologies driving the adoption of virtual conferences are improving by the day; free webinars are a dime a dozen. Besides, content presented at most conferences is eventually available for free. Wait a month or two and you can view most of the material presented at TED. New forms of meeting are also emerging. Many swear by the unconference style and Tweetups that are a product of our age. Indeed, conferences are changing rapidly, in content, form and the value they offer.
So, RecruitTech asks you to part with $299, and more significantly give up one whole day of your life? Why should you bother?
I think a well run conference offers value that emerging alternatives do not. For a start, good conferences work hard to treat you like royalty. Well run conferences provide intimacy between speakers and attendees; facilitate networking and encourages taking new steps. New connections, new relationships and new knowledge (not easy to get from free PowerPoint transcripts) are offered in abundance.
Indeed, there are two sides to the conference coin. It’s the organiser’s responsibility to provide a platform where attendees can learn, make new connections and be motivated to do things differently the next Monday morning. On the flip side, attendees should prepare themselves to be active participants. Even the best run conferences will amount to little if an attendee is passive (if you are not going to interact why bother?) or worse, showed up just to please the Boss.
By default, we are not inclined to invest money or time unless we have something to gain. Why should conferences be any different?
Clayton Wehner has arranged an impressive line-up of speakers (including a flattered yours truly). The word is relevant issues of our times will be addressed in a format conducive for maximum face time and learning. Recruitech is worth considering if you want a conference to trigger an action. Otherwise, check other events. Or even start one yourself. Sitting still is not an option, not when everything (including conferences) in our world is changing so rapidly.