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March 26, 2013

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So true: reading conference slides without going to the session does not motivate or give you enough information to use the knowledge. I have ofter picked up slides for a session that conflicts with one I'm going to and I've found it hard to follow. Now if only conferences would schedule all the sessions I want to go to sequentially. ;-)

I could not agree with you more Alan.........

It is not always the content of the slides but the networking with peers that solves issues faster and with a proven level of success for implementation.

Alan hits the nail on the head... All companies should allocate budget for continuing education of staff. The money spent not only benefits in improved efficiencies but creates an employee that is more than willing to continue with the employer toward the goals of the organization. On the other side of the coin I am involved in the organization of local conferences and we pride ourselves on providing extremely good value for the costs. Support your local user group and your local and national conferences and this community will continue into the future.

Great Blog Alan. Conferences are such a great source for learning and interacting. It is so very beneficial to have a wide range of topics and presentations to choose from as well as numerous experts and colleagues that have a wealth of experience combined that are available and willing to talk shop and more. So very often you are able to engage and find answers to current issues as well as learn what is new and what is on the horizon. By nature IT is ever changing and requires a continual learning process. Conference events are an excellent way to stay abreast and expand skills and definitely should be included within an IT budget.

Alan, I agree with you. Many companies today think that watching a webinar or perusing slides from a conference is just as effective as attending educational conferences and seminars. When budgets are cut the first thing most companies reduce is educational expenditures. In Jeb Bouchard's case, the cost of attending COMMON seems inconsequential. As president of the WMCPA, we host a spring conference every spring and struggle with attitude every year!

Along these lines, COMMON has created a detailed estimate of conference return on investment (ROI) that seems accurate to me:
https://www.common.org/index.php/membership/roi-membership.html

Alan, what a great post! I somehow missed it initially but I'm glad it finally came upon it.

You are so right - attending a conference is so much more valuable than collecting charts or even collecting facts and code examples.

The interaction is critical - not just with speakers but with exhibitors and fellow attendees. At a recent RPG & DB2 Summit, I had someone bring me a challenge I couldn't answer, only to have the person sitting with us at the same table at lunch tell of how he solved a very similar problem. The value of that one conversation alone had to have paid for the conference for him.

Thanks for pointing out the sometimes intangible but critical value of conference attendance.

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