For the development and knowledge they bring as well as keeping you up to date with latest trends, hopefully everyone in the HR and L&D profession has the opportunity to go to at least one or two conferences and exhibitions throughout the year. There’s plenty to choose from. Most offer a free ticket which gives you access to many free learning sessions as well as the opportunity to discover what's out there..
They are a great day out and do make a contribution towards our continued professional development. But even so, each a time one comes up, I find myself asking, what’s the point. It’s not that I don’t think there is a point, there is. I do see the value of conferences and exhibitions and highly recommend them. But asking what the point is, helps me to come away from the event feeling it has been a worthwhile use of time . It’s all too easy to wander around like a kid in a sweet shop, have a great day but then return to business as usual without doing anything with what you’ve discovered.
Before the one of these events, I find it useful to consider one or two questions that I’m looking for the answer to or thinking about one or two challenges or projects I’m working on. Having these in mind is helpful and guides me in making sure the conferences and exhibitions I attend have a point and a purpose and bring about some value for the time I'm putting into them. It helps me to choose the sessions I'd like to attend as well as the conversations I'd like to have.
I think what's also important though is being opened minded and flexible enough to accommodate a journey of discovering what you don’t know. It's great having a plan but we should also allow time for the sweet shop.
The next conference firmed up for me in my diary is CIPD’s Annual Conference and Exhibition 9-10 November in Manchester. If you're there, we'd love to say hello to you. Come and see us!
But ahead of this, I’ve a couple of questions that I’d love to hear back from you on:
1) Are you going? – Have a look at the link for the event
2) What’s your point? – What are you aiming to get?
And if you’re not planning on being there, I'd still love to hear from you too by letting us know what questions or challenges you might go to a conference and exhibition armed with.
For a sneak peak on what you can expect from these sorts of events, take a look at the videos below. There's also this useful guide on how to follow conferences and exhibitions from your desk and on the go here.