As a training provider choosing which conferences to attend can be a tricky decision. There are loads on offer, all over the world, but you obviously want to pick the ones that are going to meet the specific needs of your business the most, to make sure you get as much value from them as possible.
We’ve picked our top five things we think you need to consider when you’re deciding which conferences to attend, and hopefully this handy list will help you come to the best decision every year when you need to make your conference selection!
1. Value for Money
The first thing you want to think about when you’re choosing which conferences to attend is obviously how much they cost and what you are getting for your money.
Here are some things you might want to consider to help you get a better picture of the value of a conference:
- How much does a ticket cost? This is obviously the first thing to consider. Also keep an eye out for early bird offers, as buying your tickets well in advance could get you a big discount.
- How long is the conference? A conference that lasts two days but is cheaper than a one day conference will obviously give you more opportunity for learning for less money. However, you will also need to consider the impact additional time out of the office would have on your business. Make sure you think about quality more than quantity.
- How many staff members are you going to send? Obviously, the more staff members you send, the more money you’re going to spend, but you need to make sure you send enough people to get the most out of the conference. If there are multiple tracks of content running at the same time, then you may need to send multiple staff to make sure you have someone covering everything you want to attend. You may also want to consider that multiple tickets could mean a discount on the ticket price as well, which will save you a bit of money.
- How many conferences are you going to attend this year? If you’re planning on attending more than one conference, that’s obviously going to see your costs go up quite a bit, especially if you’re sending multiple staff members each time. It’s a good idea to sit down at the start of the year and make a list of all the conferences you want to attend. That way you can decide whether you want to splurge all your budget on one expensive conference, or whether you would rather attend a few smaller ones that perhaps cover slightly different topics, so you’re getting more knowledge for the same price.
- What other costs are involved? If you’re attending a local conference, there may not be many additional costs associated, but if you’re looking at attending a conference in another country, you will need to factor in the cost of hotels and travel on top of the ticket prices.
These are the main points you need to think about when you’re considering how much value for money you’re going to get from a conference.
You may be tempted to attend a free, local conference to try and save your business some money, but if only half the topics are relevant to you, you’re still wasting time away from the office, and your staff aren’t really going to benefit from it. A more expensive conference that requires travel may seem off-putting at first, but if it’s completely specific to your business or industry, it will obviously be much more beneficial to you.
Basically, don’t just look at the price of a conference and go for the cheapest and easiest option. You really need to take all these components into consideration and think about the value for money, rather than just the money itself.
2. Engaging Speakers
The next thing you want to consider is who is actually going to be speaking at the training conference you are thinking of attending if they have speakers at all.
Conferences are a great chance to get the opportunity to hear industry experts present on a number of topics, and even get the chance to ask them questions afterwards, so they really are invaluable.
Most conference will have a list of their speakers up on their website quite far in advance, so even if you’re buying an early bird ticket, you should still have a pretty good idea of who will be speaking.
After looking at the speakers, think about who you will get the most value from seeing. This may be from speakers who are from your industry, or if may be from speakers who are from outside the training sector, but are talking about other business practises which are relevant to your company as a whole.
If there are speakers you haven’t heard of before, you could do a little research online and see if you could find any videos or slides from previous talks they’ve done to see it they are presenting on the sorts of topics you would be interested in.
3. Interesting Workshops
As well as speakers, most training conferences should offer you workshops which you can attend. Depending on who is hosting the conference there could just be general workshops about things relevant to your industry, or they could be specific to a particular product or service. For example, at LITE, Administrate’s EdTech conference, we’re planning workshops around general business topics, such as Sales and Marketing, but we’re also holding sessions which are about how to use Administrate to help our customers get the most from our product.
Workshops are great because they can give you the chance to ask more in-depth questions about the topic and maybe get a little one-to-one time with an expert if the workshop is based around showing how to use something more effectively.
If there are a lot of workshops running that you would be interested in, you might want to consider splitting your attendees up so you cover all the sessions. Then your team can share their knowledge once you get back to the office.
Workshops are really an exclusive chance to get an insight into your industry and get up close with experts, and the workshops alone could make your training conference visit worthwhile!
4. Networking Opportunities
As well as attending talks and workshops, there is a another great source of information at conferences – other attendees! Even with a smaller conference, there are still going to be lots of attendees who work in a similar industry to you, and the breaks between sessions or any social events afterwards will allow you to interact with other attendees and share your knowledge.
There may even be attendees there from businesses who you would like to work with or form a partnership with, and meeting in a slightly more informal situation like this may start up a business relationship which could lead to a new customer or partner.
Think of how much a conference ticket costs versus how much money you could gain if you managed to land a new customer?
The final thing to consider when thinking about which conferences to attend is the information you can take away from a conference. Even if you only send one or two members of staff, you can make sure they gather all the important information for your business and present it to the relevant teams when you’re all back in the office. That way everyone will get the most from the conference.
You may also want to look and see if the conference you are considering released the videos from the previous conferences afterwards. If this is the case, you won’t need to worry about taking lots of notes on the day, and can really just enjoy the experience, and still share all the knowledge with the rest of your team.
Look at the workshops and speakers and think about which topics are really going to help your business in the long run, and then choose your conference based on that.
The price of one ticket could give you access to information which you can then share with your whole team, no matter the size, and that’s excellent value for money.
Come to LITE!
As you may know, Administrate runs our own annual EdTech conference, LITE, which this year takes place every year in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. Check out our 10 Reasons to Come to LITE list, which you can download below, to see the many benefits of attending LITE.