5 reasons you should attend more conferences.

Last week we attended the HRPA 2017 annual conference and trade show as exhibitors. Although we’ve done a number of other conferences in the past, it was our first time at HRPA. We couldn’t wait to debut our new booth design, but we were even more excited about the opportunity to meet with HR professionals face-to-face and hear firsthand how we can help them. Having a physical presence over the three-day event was advantageous in a number of ways. If you’re on the fence about attending an upcoming conference, here are some reasons you should go.

  1. Attending humanizes your business. In a world where it’s possible to get your banking, grocery shopping, and wedding planning done completely online, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind these services. Showing up at a conference puts a face to your organization’s name and makes the company seem more down-to-earth.
  2. You get to practice your pitch. You’re probably going to be asked what you do a few dozen times regardless of whether you’re a conference attendee or exhibitor. This is your chance to perfect how you describe yourself or your business. Are people confused when you explain your role/company, or do they get it right away? What kinds of follow-up questions do they ask you? Use their reactions to refine your pitch so you can make the best first impression possible.
  3. Feedback is relevant and immediate. Similar to the previous point, a huge advantage to attending events is being able to collect targeted feedback on the spot. This is especially key as a sponsor or exhibitor. You can tell right away if your communications are compelling based on how passersby engage—or not. Paying attention to this feedback can save you from making strategic mistakes, or inspire you to try new approaches.
  4. Everyone is eager for opportunities. Talking to strangers can be uncomfortable, but the good news is people who attend conferences are generally very open minded and receptive. After all, they’re there to meet people like you! Take advantage of the fact that you have access to such a large and welcoming audience by exchanging as many business cards as you can.
  5. You’re guaranteed to learn something. Keep your eyes open and your ears perked throughout the event. Whether you attend every session or spend the whole time on the trade show floor, you’re bound to discover new insights about your industry, market trends, competitors, peers, partners, etc. This knowledge will prove invaluable for both your job and your organization as a whole.

We’re very glad to have been a part of HRPA 2017. Big thanks to the organizers and volunteers who made it all possible, and it was wonderful to meet those of you who stopped by our booth.

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Also published on Medium.