This past week Las Vegas hosted the National Association of Broadcaster convention (NAB) as well as the New Media Expo (NMX). And I was there for three of the days. Some people seem events like this as not being important to their business or maybe too expensive to attend. I disagree on both counts. if you want to grow your business, if you want to know where your marketplace is heading, you need to get out and attend an industry related convention or conference.
Why Attending Conferences Is Important
Besides being a great tax write off (travel, meals, housing, etc..), attending a industry-related conference or conventions gets you out, away from work, away from routines and energy sucking tasks. They put you into a new environment that suddenly stimulates your senses and invigorates the mind because you are now around other like-minded people
Meeting people who can become new contacts, new referrals who can open up new conversations you may never have had via internet, email or online discussions.
I got to meet the people behind Dreamhost. My web hosting company. I’ve been a customer of their for over 10 years and this was the first time I got to put a name from the chatroom to a face. To say “Hello” and talk about their business. To hear what they have planned for the future and for them to ask why I stay with them and what would make me leave them. Again, things that may not have ever been answered in an online chat conversation.
I met up with the fine people of Libsyn. The company that hosts the podcast files for me. Same thing there. We got to have a conversation that was free flowing and open. One that would never have happened in an online chat, a survey or evaluation form. We got to talk and discuss what we like, what we want and what can be improved.
These companies get to see and hear our stories and what we want from them or could use to help our businesses better.
At GoPro, I got to play around with their new editing software. Talk to one of the people who helped develop it and see what all it can really do. The hidden tricks and tips that I would have otherwise spent hours if not days hunting down.
Play and Experience
Where else are you going to be able to be hands on with all the technology, tools and gadgets you may want to buy? In one location and talk to the people behind the products? Not online. Not in an email and not by watching a video on YouTube. At a conference or convention, its there for you to explore and test.
The Value Meter
It took me three days of walking, talking and fighting the crowds to get my value from the convention. To get that one idea or that one suggestion that made me go “AHHA! That’s it. The one thing that when I go back to my office, will change my business for the better. That one new idea that would have never happened except for the fact that I was there and I met some people who made it happen.,, but I got it and it made the entire trip worth the effort.
For me, it was the final night and almost the final hours. Cliff Ravencraft from Podcastanswerman.com was holding a private meet-up for members of his community. I met two ladies who gave me the spark for an idea that will take my business to the next phase, the next level. But it would have never happened or would have been years for me to get that spark had I not been there. At the NAB event. But I was and that one idea made the event worth it.
Being emerged and surrounded by like minded people, cut off from the negativity and the distractions of the every-day world, help get your juices flowing again and helps put you in an environment ripe with possibilities. and all you need is that one idea, that one connection to make it all worth the cost, the effort, and the sacrifice.
What do You think about attending industry related conferences and conventions??