Tech conferences are being held all over the map at virtually any day of the year. Some of these conferences are very specialized. Others can be very general and contain a variety of different panels and presentations that appeal to attendees from a wide range of backgrounds. One thing virtually all technology-based conferences have in common is that they all share the common purpose of giving attendees a face-to-face experience with the content. Whether that content happens to be the latest games, or an instructional course on the future of cloud computing, the attendee is able to take in information in a way that reading an article or joining a conference call just doesn’t come close to. In addition to that, networking with industry leaders and complementary businesses is a great way to establish a wider professional reach and build brand recognition among potential clients.
Here are five reasons to attend tech conferences.
Never underestimate the power of face-to-face networking. The people you meet at business-level technology conferences are generally the decision makers who would call you up in times of need. These are the movers and shakers who can make the difference between a good quarter and a great one.
Imagine meeting the head of project management at recently funded startup that deals in cloud-based video encoding services. You represent a company that offers an extremely fast and efficient large-file transfer service that gives customers the ability to store large amounts of data for extended periods of time in the cloud. That meeting, and the relationship that develops thereof, could eventually be parlayed into being called on to provide a better data transfer utility to the video encoding service’s customers. This example may not be universal, but the idea remains the same no matter what company you represent.
On a non-representative note, establishing a name for yourself and meeting potential future employers is also a great advantage that attending a tech conference can bring you. How you present yourself, the conversations you have, and the information you bring to these conferences can leave a good impression on a potential employer, especially in an industry that is constantly shifting and evolving.
Separate from professional networking is the chance that tech conferences give you to meet new people and make new friends. These friends may be of a business interest to you as well, but hanging out with like-minded individuals who enjoy discussing the same topics that you do is a lot of fun. Those relationships can carry on through online conversation and interaction long after the conference is over.
Some conferences have great events and contests that are genuinely fun to take part in. Depending on the type of conference, you may be able to attend fun interactive panels and walk away with a story to tell when you get back home.
Seeing the Latest Technology, First
Tech conferences are a great place to get a hands-on demonstration of what the future holds for the consumer and corporate markets. If you could go to one place and play a handful of the latest games months (or even years) before they come out, see the next big gadget, or learn about the next big startup, a tech conference is the place you want to be.
Company-specific conferences (such as BlizzCon) are a prime place to play the beta versions of upcoming releases of your favorite products while also attending panels and keynotes announcing the latest features in more detail than you would find on a blogger’s boil down after the fact.
You can couple this hands-on experience and first-hand knowledge with the ability to actually talk to experts after their panel discussions. Many times, speakers make themselves available to attendees after their presentations and throughout the length of the conference. After all, they need to network, too.
Tech conferences are rooted in the idea of bringing thought leaders and industry innovators together to discuss the latest insights for a given field. Discovering technologies that you may not have known about, successes of certain processes, and what’s ahead for the future of your business are all big reasons you should consider attending. Speakers are often experts in their field, and the advice they dispense in their presentations are (or should) usually be insightful and reliable.
In a sense, simply attending a tech conference can spare you from having to hire a consultant to tell you the same information you could get by simply attending. In the world of technology, knowledge is power.
I’m going to say it: conferences have swag. Companies that set up booths in the exhibition hall are trying very hard to leave attendees with some lasting impression of their presence there. Sometimes, that means giveaways and prizes. Usually, it means free thumb drives, pens, knickknacks, water bottles, and other cool little gadgets that can be fun to have around the office. The only downside here is that most of these things have a company logo as big as a mountain plastered over every square inch of them.
If you attend a large enough conference, you might end up with enough free t-shirts to keep you clothed for quite a while. Some of these shirts are exclusive to the conference, making them conversation pieces as you make your way around town.
Can you make the price of admission back in swag? Not unless your ticket was free and you live in the area. Still, it’s something to look forward to.
Promo Codes and Exclusive Offers
Technology companies are often beta testing their upcoming services and/or products. Attending a conference is a great way to get access to a closed beta as many of these companies are searching for beta testers with some demonstrated passion about the product. Often, companies will hand out promo codes to attendees or offer a sign-up form at their booth. This is a much more reliable method of breaking through that barrier of entry than simply filling out the form on the company website and hoping you win the lottery.
Depending on the conference, vendors might be present who have their merchandise available at a reasonable discount. This is usually a trend found in conventions (more known for being a gathering than an organized series of discussions), but every event is different.