What makes a conference worthwhile?

Hilary Cadman Professional development Leave a Comment

Last Saturday I went up to Sydney to attend a conference for medical writers. I realised while I was there that my criteria for rating a conference as ‘worthwhile’ have changed since I went freelance. As an employee, with all conference expenses paid (including my time if the event was during a working week), my criteria were fairly relaxed. Provided I had a good time, found the speakers interesting and met up with people I hadn’t seen for a while, I was satisfied. Now that I’m attending at my own expense, and giving up time when I could be working, my criteria are more stringent. I want to learn something I can use in my work, get ideas for expanding my business or find new clients.

I only went to one day of the two-day conference, but travelled there and back by bus rather than plane (to be more environmentally friendly), which meant that I was away for most of Friday and Saturday. The conference was certainly enjoyable – it got me out of the house, I met up with some old friends and the speakers on the Saturday afternoon were knowledgeable and entertaining. However, it didn’t meet my revised criteria. The only thing I learnt was that I should set up a system to tweet whenever I post something on this blog, which probably wasn’t worth the time and expense of going to the conference. Next time, I’ll think harder before I sign up for something.

Hilary CadmanWhat makes a conference worthwhile?

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