The Benefits of Attending Professional Conferences
Professional Members of CPC receive a discount on registration. Don’t forget to visit CPC’s exhibit and attend our presentation. While you are in town, join us for our casual meet-up for career professionals.
With the Cannexus14 National Career Development Conference approaching, you may be wondering whether there is real value in attending a professional conference. Deciding whether or not to attend a conference can be tough. There are several factors to consider, such as money, travel time and days away from work. However, the benefits of attending a conference like Cannexus can far outweigh the costs associated with it.
Professional development conferences such as Cannexus are an opportunity to learn more about the field you work in. Conference presentations allow you to engage in topics that you may not have personally researched. Along with 130 education sessions, Cannexus14 brings you four exceptional keynote speakers, allowing delegates the chance to learn from inspirational individuals about current issues.
A professional conference can be an excellent chance to network with other people in your field, allowing you to feel more integrated into your professional community. Many would argue that this is one of the most important benefits of attending a professional conference. In 2014, Cannexus is expected to attract over 800 delegates from January 20-22. Having a diverse professional network can be useful not only to your current position, but also for helping you learn what other opportunities might be available to you if the time comes when you are ready for a change.
Attending a conference may give you the opportunity to learn about a new place or culture – especially if the conference is taking place in a country or city that is culturally different from your own. Unfamiliar with the Ottawa area, at the nexus of English and French Canada? Come to the city a couple of days before Cannexus begins and see what our nation’s capital has to offer. Use conferences as an opportunity not only for professional development, but also as a chance to develop personally.
Now that you’ve decided that going to a conference is a good idea, how can you make the most of attending Cannexus?
Try to choose sessions that will most benefit you or your organization. Are you looking to develop a new skill for your job or to learn about a different area of your field? With sessions that address everything from attracting great clients to building an online resume course, Cannexus allows you to learn about various aspects of your profession. If you’re going with colleagues, try to attend different sessions to maximize your learning.
Take advantage of conference exhibitors. With close to 30 organizations exhibiting, Cannexus can be a chance for you to learn what new products and services are available that could be of use to you or your organization.
Be social. Cannexus brings together many people from diverse organizations and backgrounds. Look at a conference as a chance to meet new people, expand your professional network and learn what other people in your field are doing.
Finally, try to think of a conference as a small part of advancing the ultimate goal of your organization. Says Donna Gibson, Director of Library Services at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Library, “Ultimately, the value of any conference comes from what (you) bring back and share. Returning with just one great idea truly makes the investment in time and money spent worthwhile. In essence, the conference shouldn’t have an end date but be a springboard towards future ideas tailored to the needs of (your) staff.”
Ashley Beaupre is the Marketing & Events Assistant for the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (www.ceric.ca). CERIC is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development. It presents the annual Cannexus conference annually (www.cannexus.ca).