Move beyond online learning and development and discover the value of network intelligence at conferences.
As the end of 2019 approaches on the not-so-distant horizon, we have discovered that a lot of leaders, managers and learning and development teams take this time of year to reflect on what went well this past year, but more importantly where improvement can be made.
For many companies, upskilling their employees and teams is often a big area for improvement.
The emergence of online LMS (Learning Management Systems) makes it convenient and affordable for staff and managers to learn. These are useful in some ways, particularly for learning specific technical skills.
Staff members, for example, could do well with a purely online learning experience for tech skills such as coding. Managers, too, could take online learning courses for task-specific requirements such as project management. Certainly, this kind of online learning should continue to be part of the company’s L&D strategy.
Truly successful leaders, however, learn differently – by tapping into the collective knowledge of their network of peers. And the best way to meet, connect and grow your community of like-minded people is through large events and conferences.
Finding people at conferences who have gone through similar business situations as you have is one of the best ways to learn. All you need to do is walk up to them and ask.
So what are the real benefits of attending events and conferences? Here are four reasons conferences need to be a part of your 2020 development strategy.
Conferences are highly conducive for learning
You break your routine when you go to conferences, especially when there’s travel involved. Taking in the fresh, new surroundings and meeting new people are welcome disruptions to your work routine. Now add these disruptions with the excitement around the content, conversation and community of a conference. It’s exhilarating! It’s no wonder that live events are one of the best ways to learn.
Conferences are high-level conversations
At conferences, you can take advantage of the opportunity for in-person interactions and lively discussions. It is also the chance to ask your burning questions to a room full of experts. Being part of the conversation with a larger group of people brings you closer to the answers you seek. A conference, after all, is a conversation at a larger scale.
Conferences are a community of support
Aside from great conversations, conferences provide a chance to build a community of like-minded and supportive peers. It’s commonly known as “networking”, but that word has gotten a bad rap lately to mean a “disingenuous way of meeting people to get a job or collect leads.” On the other hand, “community” is a two-way street – you’re there to get as much as you can give.
The value of conferences and network intelligence
It’s challenging to get management to buy into these learning events because they are a significant investment in time and money. The returns are also not obvious upfront.
You may argue – what is the value of a great idea to the business? A difficult problem solved? Or a strategic business partnership? The value is enormous, but it could not be immediately quantified.
Whether you get support or not, make learning a serious personal commitment in 2020 because the world needs good leaders who never stop searching, acquiring and sharing knowledge.