Influential Voices: To Conference, or not To Conference…

This month on the A View from the Q blog, ASQ Communications Specialist Julia Kolker guest blogs about conferences and the best way to network and learn, and how to choose between local and online events vs. face-to-face and larger events. I have been lucky throughout my career to be able to attend a number of larger conferences, including the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI), which I’m looking forward to attending in Nashville this year. For me, I’ve been able to use conferences to build an amazing network. I still keep in touch, and have both asked questions and responded to inquiries from folks that I met at that first conference I attended in Philadelphia years ago. Conferences can be a bigger expense, but the opportunity to explore many topics over a couple of days can have a big payoff. You can find some tips I shared previously on getting the most from WCQI on my blog. To minimize costs, I do things like having a roommate, getting food from the grocery store instead of the pricy hotel restaurants if I have a car, speaking and channeling my inner travel agent to get good deals.

For me, the biggest turn off with online meetings I’ve attended in the past is that so much of the content is sales pitch. One virtual conference that I attended allowed you to move from room to room virtually. I couldn’t do that without being accosted by sales folks from all directions. I just don’t have the time to mess with that.

What are your thought’s on Julia’s question, “How do you decide which ones to attend? Do you stay close to home or is international travel desired or necessary? If you travel, do you go to learn, network, or both?”

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