Why I attend Trade Shows and Conferences

Well it is that time of year again!  Tomorrow morning I will be jumping on a plane to head to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  If you are going to CES make sure you check on my guide on how to survive the show.  Conferences and trade shows are great to go to, but many people do not attend them.  One of the main reasons is the cost.  Flying anywhere these days is not cheap and renting a condo for a week in Vegas isn’t either.  I used to try to justify the costs of the trip by telling myself the coverage would bring more people to ThinkComputers, but it is so much more than that.  So here is why I attend trade shows and conferences.

Facetime with Companies
If your business is online there is a pretty good chance most of your communication is done via e-mail.  While this is not a bad thing it is always good to meet people in person.  If someone actually knows you they will be more likely to help your business or want to do business with you.  This is one of the most crucial parts about attending these events and will really help you grow your business.

Networking
Say you are attending a conference about online marketing, there is probably a good chance there are people there who are in the same business as you.  Or maybe they do something completely different, but you meet and really hit it off.  This could be a future business partner.  Networking at conferences is just as important as attending the sessions.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask them what they do.  It is always good to meet new people in your industry.

Learn Something
This is a given if you are going to a conference.  You are going to attend sessions and hopefully learn something new that will benefit your business.  Really pay attention during sessions because remember you (or your company) is paying for it.  Even if you are going to a conference you are going to get a hands on experience with products or something similar.  Make sure you take home some valuable information.  Most likely if you are attending a conference you traveling so this is another way to learn something.  How do you think I know so much about Vegas?

Seeing Friends & Getting out of Town
Working in the same office day in and day out can be very annoying.  Often you may feel stuck or that you need new surroundings.  A conference is the perfect cure, it gets you out of town!  Along with that if you are attending a conference there are probably people in your industry that you are friends with that are also attending.  For me CES is the time of year when I see all of my friends who work in the tech industry or that run a tech site.  I normally only see them once or twice a year so it is a great time to catch up.

Coverage
As I said I used to justify my trips with the whole “coverage” thing, but as you can see it is much more than that.  But you should cover or blog about the conferences you attend.  I would assume many people would be interested and it can serve as an excuse to get your company to send you to trade shows or conferences.  Also if you cover conferences you can most likely get a press / media pass to the event for free!

So I’m off to Vegas tomorrow, make sure you follow me on twitter to see what I’m up to all this week during CES.