The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy!

Usually, my travel schedule for conference presentations are usually held at the same time over the summer. However, I am entering a period of the spring where I am going to four different conferences. Three are professionally based and the other is purely academic.

All four of these conferences are new ones for me, which is exciting! I always love meeting fellow colleagues, future connections, and learning new insights and perspectives.

Why are conferences important to invest in? Here are some reasons I have learned over the years that still apply today.

Meeting people IRL is crucial for fostering relationships and community. I think this is one of the great things about conferences is the fact you are able to meet people from social media in person. I am currently in New Orleans and I am looking forward to meeting some of my fellow higher education and social media friends who I have connected with on Twitter, but we have never met in person.

People will be able to see what you have to offer. Conference presentations are fun, and each time it get easier and easier. I love presenting on all aspects of PR, social media, and crisis communications. The conferences I have here coming up are going to be on a range of topics related to social media, but that’s the thing – you do not have to present on the same topic over and over again. In fact, you want to change things up but still be aligned to your areas of interest and expertise.

Identify your main conferences and explore new ones. Going to certain conferences for your field are going to be key to attend and present at. There are however going to be opportunities where you may be able to go to an event you never have thought of going to before. This is a great mixture to have since you are able to see which ones you like, which ones you will go back to, and which ones you may want to consider going to in the future. Have a list of conferences you want to attend, which ones you would want to present at in the future, and which ones are your ultimate goal events to present at.

To truly “walk the walk and talk the talk,” you have to show people what you can actually do. This is not the time to just tweet what you do, or say you are an expert in an area without any evidence to support this. It’s so easy to brand yourself on social media as an expert or thought leader online, but you have to have substance for what you have to offer to the community. Plus, i you are not at the events that are tied to your field, questions will arise. You got to have meat and evidence to back up your points, and presentations that are based on your expertise, research, and consulting opportunities is what helps you in your community.

Overall, there are some major opportunities that could arise from attending and presenting at conferences. Yes, they are an investment of time and resources, but look at the long term impact these have for your career. Each experience, talk, and connection you are able to make at a conference could lead to more opportunities you could not have anticipated. I know there are certain events, people, and conference presentations I have done over the years that have helped me get to the place I am today. I am excited to continue growing, learning, and networking at these events. I will be sharing what I am learning over the next few weeks at these conferences.

Let me know what are some of your biggest takeaways from presenting and attending conferences.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,