Importance of Attending Live Conferences

This week, I’ve been in Philadelphia at the IVAA Live Conference. (International Virtual Assistants Association). I’ve only been a member of IVAA for about a year and felt that getting to know some from this group would be an encouragement to me and perhaps I could encourage others. In addition it’s a great networking experience  and I’ve always found it worthwhile to meet people. A fellow VA I met said, ‘It’s so nice to meet people in person rather than looking at a flat photo’. I hadn’t thought of photos being ‘flat’, but they certainly are. Although we had a program book with people’s photos and bios, the meet and greet process is so superior to that.

Allison Babb

Before I’d decided to attend, I saw they had a call for speakers to pitch them on topics. Since I’ve been a SkyDrive Insider, I thought perhaps a session on SkyDrive tailored for the VA’s business might be something of interest. I filled out an extensive form last Fall and found it was accepted early in 2013. So the last couple of months, I’ve been putting together a presentation geared towards the VA’s needs as well as sharing with them the advantages of Office 365 and Office 2013. I’ll do another blog post on that later.

So here are some reasons to attend conferences.

Networking Opportunities

For those of us established or new in our fields, conferences are a great way to either strengthen your network or start a network of folks to help in your business. This is not the place to be shy or stay in your room all the time. I came here not knowing anyone and will leave having met 10 or more people I’ve been able to have conversations with people about everything from the ‘hot’ VA topics to how and why of the different types of social media we use.

Increase Your Knowledge

A well put together conference will have topics of interest to fulfill a range of needs. In the case of the IVAA, they did a masterful job choosing topics with a blend of nuts and bolts (how to use specific software) as well as getting the right people here to coach us by giving us concrete business building blocks to take home and implement.

Revitalize and de-stress

Many conferences are simply a series of rah-rah moments strung together, so it’s important to intentionally choose the type of conference that will send you home renewed, yet relaxed. If you head home with a list of things you want to implement along with a renewed sense of purpose, it was time and money well spent.

What conferences have you attended recently and what was your purpose for attending? Was it meaningful and would you go back to that one and why? Please leave your comments.

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