Conferences – More Than Just a Write Off

If you’re anything like me, you love to travel – even if it is for work. I love the entire experience:

  1. Getting Packed
  2. Suiting Up
  3. Driving to the Airport
  4. That $12 drink waiting for the flight
  5. Working in First Class with A drink & Meal
  6. The always entertaining cab ride from the airport to the hotel
  8. and I can go on and on..

I’ve been lucky to be able to go to a few conferences this year: The local client take over event in Las Vegas, Digital Summit in Portland, Ungagged in Las Vegas coming up in November, but unfortunately I am going to miss the Chiang Mai SEO conference that a bunch of buds are flying out for. In 2018, I am hoping to hit a conference around the world at least once per month, but I’m not sure if my growing family would appreciate that much 😛

The reason I’m writing this article today is to elaborate on why I think conferences are great for industry professionals to attend, but I also want to warn about some of the potential dangers. Often times, most of the speakers are conferences aren’t going to teach you anything. They will promise a lot of actionable info, but its all generally very basic and aimed at beginners. With that being said, the reason I attend most digital marketing conferences is for the networking. When you meet people that have a passion for the same thing you’re doing it is SO WONDERFUL to connect and learn about what they’re up to. Chances are, you might even learn a thing or two.

When you’re meeting people, don’t be handing your card out non-stop unless it is asked for. Some people want to be sold while they are at the conference (it is the reason they are there) but they want to get to know you first. They want to know what you’re up to. Why are you better than Bob down the hall. Why should they trust you? What you’ll find is that you’re building business relationships the old school way – in person and over drinks. And ultimately, after you chase and successfully win their business, it all comes down to whether or not they 1. like you and 2. know they can trust you to deliver your work on time so they don’t look like a schmuck.

On the plus side, its always nice to get out of the office for a while and try to separate yourself from the daily grind. I mentioned earlier that most conferences’ content isn’t great – still pay attention! You may learn things that obviously DON’T work in your area of practice. Or, you may even get your brain sparked and think up some new ideas on your own because of what the speaker was presenting.

All in all, I definitely recommend getting out for conferences. I’ll warn you now – most of them aren’t cheap. I think on average we spend about $700 per ticket. BUT REMEMBER: It is a write off, and so is your flight, hotel, taxis, etc. Another important thing to remember: just because its a write off doesn’t mean its free. Think of it as a discount on the total price you paid (it depends on your tax bracket on that level of income etc).

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Author: Garrett Graff

Garrett is a qualified engineer, and when he's not helping businesses grow as a consultant at Palladous, you can find him building hobby race cars, managing the family farming business or chilling out on the lake fishing. Get in touch on Google+ or drop him a line by e-mail.

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