By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown – Web Success Team
In this day of digital media we are constantly bombarded with educational materials, white papers, webinars, and seminars. With so many different options to choose from, it can be hard to wade through the “clutter” and decide what forum fits your needs. This article discusses the pros and cons associated with choosing which educational conference is best for your valuable time and budget.
Location-Based Conferences v. Webinars: Pros and Cons
Location-based conferences and webinars both have their benefits and disadvantages. The obvious deciding factor may be convenience (you can attend a webinar from anywhere in the world). If convenience isn’t a factor, then it depends on what you hope to gain from the session. If you are solely looking to learn new information, then a webinar may be more practical. If you are looking to network and make connections in your industry, then it may be worth attending a conference.
What Are Your Goals?
We all have areas that need strengthening. Before we attend any conference, we must decide what the information we receive will be used for. Will it help you improve customer relations or your social media strategy? Will that bring in more business? It’s important to have a clear outline of your goals so that you can take full of advantage of the webinar or conference and make sure that everything you are spending time learning about is worth it.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Time is money so look for a conference that is close to your area or that offers a virtual version of the curriculum. Often times you can get day passes only for the lectures that you need. If you have more time, then it may be beneficial to attend the entire conference and meet other professionals in your field.
Value for Dollars Spent
Many seminars are intended to sell you a service. Always keep in mind that you are attending for a reason and that reason is so that you can get valuable information about a product or service that will be beneficial for your company. If the seminar or conference only touches upon a few topics that are of interest of you, then it may not make sense to attend. Some seminars and conferences are free, but most of the time you have to pay a hefty fee. It’s helpful if you can do a cost-benefit analysis beforehand so you can decide if it’s worth your hard earned cash.
How Savvy Are You on the Subject Matter?
It’s always good to read the website or to be informed on the curriculum to make sure you are not wasting your time with information that might be elementary or redundant. If most of the material that is going to be covered is information that you already know, then you can save your time and attend a different seminar that will cover different topics that better suit your needs.
As mentioned before, conferences are great places to meet potential clients. It’s the main reason for most businesses to attend, and it gives you the platform to connect and converse with your peers. Also, if you attend a local conference, this can also give you the opportunity to scope out your competition.
Sometimes a little research can help you can determine the quality of the conference or seminar. Seeing how much work was put into the event prior to its occurrence can give you some insight as to how good the seminar will be. Also, if the organizers are approachable or easy to get in touch with, the better organized and informative the conference may be.
The Final Analysis: To Attend or Not to Attend
It’s always important to understand what you are going to be gaining from each seminar or conference. In today’s market, webinars are becoming more and more popular because they are cost effective and convenient. On the other hand, attending an event in person can get your questions answered and expand your client base, but more time and planning are involved. Each seminar has it’s pro’s and con’s, but in the end you have to decide what you can afford, how much time you are willing to sacrifice, and which approach will be more beneficial for your company.
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