Do you attend conferences and exhibitions?

If so what is your main priority in terms of what you get from them? Is it just a chance to get out of the office? Sometimes being self employed is isolating and you can get cabin fever. Going to an event is a change of scene, you are fed and watered and it is a sort of Jolly.

Is it to gain new knowledge? It is important not to stand still in business or stagnate for too long. Gaining new knowledge and insights is time consuming and hard to fit in the course of a working week. Going to a conference allows the opportunity to hear from leaders in your industry, gain inspiration by hearing other case studies and spark creativity by getting new ideas. It can reinvigorate your passion for what you do and increase your confidence.

Is it to meet new people? The networking opportunities that conferencing provides are invaluable – you probably attend the same networking events week in and week out and see the same faces, going to a larger event means meeting people from all over the country and you never know where this can lead to now or in the future, so maybe this is your motivation.

Is it to source suppliers? If you are in retail sourcing suppliers can be quite difficult, even with the Internet because it is hard to decipher the choice available. Exhibitions are a great way to meet all the suppliers under one roof and see if there are any offers up for grabs.

I recently attended The Office Show in London and even though it was informative and an excellent networking opportunity, it took 2 days from my busy schedule and at least another day to catch up once I got back to the office.  However, I had the opportunity to meet up with fellow Virtual Assistants, Office Managers and other acquaintances which I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do.  I think it’s really important to keep that face to face contact when you are a small business.  People remember faces more than words and important collaborations can sometimes be formed.

I welcome feedback from readers on the reasons why you attend events, conferences or exhibitions.