Are you stuck trying to decide between a webinar and shelling out a little more for a real world conference?
Is the cost of attending a conference putting you off?
Could you learn just as well in the comfort of your own office?
It’s true that a conference is probably going to cost you more, what with the cost of participation plus travel and accommodation fees, but it might be worth your while spending that extra cash. A real world conference is going to give you some pretty hefty advantages that you’re just not going to get from a webinar. Want to know what you’re getting for your money? Then here are five great reasons that a physical conference is going to beat a webinar every time.
Face time is probably the most important advantage of attending a real life conference, rather than an online seminar. The chance to get face to face not only with the leading experts in your field, but also with colleagues and those that share your interests is invaluable. Getting yourself out there and recognised by people who could help build your success is a key benefit of conferences, and that human touch is something that a webinar just lacks.
Whilst webinars can be a great way to share knowledge and even learn, conferences tend to be a little different from a simple talk or series of talks. A good presenter is going to give you hands on experience in what you’re learning, through role playing, discussion or even technical demonstrations.
Most of us will agree that we learn far better through doing than being told to do and a great conference should give you more than a few speeches and hand outs. Walking away from a day or weekend with practical knowledge is very different from walking away from a web cam with theoretical knowledge.
Okay, coffee is great, but you can always make your own coffee sitting in front of your computer, right? What’s important here is not the coffee itself- though it’s welcomed – what’s important is the chance to relax, chat and mingle with fellow conference goers.
Making connections, sharing ideas, solving problems, these are all vital elements in making your business, whatever it is; a success. The down time that a conference coffee break provides is your opportunity to share information and build valuable relationships with those around you, and you can’t do that at a webinar.
A physical conference is going to be more of a time commitment than a webinar, which you might be seeing as a disadvantage, but in fact that bigger time commitment is what’s going to make the conference better for you in the long run.
Firstly, it takes time to build relationships and get to know people, in a conference setting you’ll have coffee breaks, as we mentioned, but also meal breaks and even overnight stays, all of which will give you more than enough time to meet the people you need to meet and start building business relationships with them.
There’s also the question of knowledge digestion. It often takes time to truly take information in and process it before you can begin to see what you do and don’t understand. “Any questions?” at the end of a webinar or conference talk might not produce any queries.
However, later that afternoon, or the next day, when you’ve had time to digest your new found knowledge, you might suddenly find that you’re full of questions. A conference will give you that kind of follow up, you simply search out the appropriate presenter during a coffee break and you’ll have your answers.
Travelling to a conference can also seem like a distinct disadvantage, after all it’s going to take both time and money to get there, but being in a new location is actually a good thing. You’re away from the distractions of desk and home, even if you can’t get away from the ubiquitous mobile phone, leaving you free to focus all your energies on mingling and learning. There’s also evidence to show that people learn better in new environments, so you’ve got that going for you as well!
A webinar can be a convenient choice, but a real world conference is going to give you more bang for your buck. You might spend more in terms of both time and money, but you’re also getting more, and that makes good business sense.
If you truly want to benefit not just from the expertise of a presenter, but also from the valuable connections and experiences of your colleagues and peers, you’ll opt for that real world conference.