Attend an Industry Conference
I wrote a blog post in 2012 after attending the Association for Talent Development (ATD) International Conference and Exposition (ICE) in Denver, Colorado. I explained how it was such a wonderful experience to be in the company of so many established and distinguished learning and development professionals! It is always an extremely positive experience. In 2012, I advised every professional to attend an industry conference at least once no matter your profession. I also ensured it was a memorable experience that enriched my professional life. The experience was so valuable to me that I assured my readers that they would have the same experience and said, "Trust me, you won't regret the experience!" I then shared the benefits of attending.
I will say that some things have changed, since I attended in 2012. ATD had a name and logo change. It was called Association for Training and Development (ASTD) back then. ATD has also made significant improvements on the content that they offer to members and non-members by switching to a community of practice model. Just as some things change, others stay the same. For example, the benefits of attending an industry conference are the exact same as they were in 2012 (not to mention that this year's conference is in Denver again).
Benefits of Attending
Here are a few of the benefits of attending...
Professional development--you will learn so much! You can find out about industry trends...create meaningful links between existing knowledge, skills, and experiences and new ones.
Sharing best practices--you will be able to find innovative ways to enhance your current projects, process, and procedures by learning about what others have done and are doing. You can also share what's worked for you and your organizations to help others.
Expanding your network--this is the best part of attending industry conferences. You meet so many people who share common interests from all different parts of the country or even the world. Just think, each time you meet someone new, you are expanding your network and potentially expand your ability to be more effective in your profession.
These are all opportunities to GROW!
As it was in 2012, it's still your job as a professional to take charge of your own development. Attending industry conferences is still one of the most effective ways to stay current and continue to add to your professional toolkit. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year, as I balance work and family. I have, however, asked several colleagues to be prepared to share their learning nuggets with me, so that I can still reap some of the benefits.
Those attending ICE, have fun, and please share what you learned with me!