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Giada Pezzini | 12 March 2019

5 reasons why attending on-site industry conferences still makes sense in 2019

5 reasons why attending on-site industry conferences still makes sense in 2019
Technology has given us access to more ways to learn, connect and collaborate than ever before. With resources like online videos, webinars, podcasts, blogs and videoconferencing at the tip of our fingers, one might ask: is it really still worth spending time and money to attend conferences in person? A tough question, with an easy answer: yes, it is. Here are 5 reasons why you really should go ahead and book those tickets.

1. Expand your network

The top benefit of attending a conference? The networking opportunities. While technology like email or Skype is great for instant communication, when it comes to taking important business decisions, starting new ventures, or building connections, nothing beats a real-life, face-to-face meeting. Social media can help us stay connected – but it tends to only work with the people we already know. It’s hard to expand your networks online. On the other hand, at conferences, you can catch up with old acquaintances, meet old friends, and have them introduce you to new ones. Most importantly, you can get a feel for a person, and perhaps use your charisma to seal that deal which you just were unable to close via email and Skype meetings. Business, we all know it, is made by people. It’s only in person that you get the chance to leave a lasting impression of you and your company. And don’t forget that by attending conference you don’t only get the opportunity to meet the right people. You also get the chance to let the right people find you.

2. Sharpen your focus

Even if you are the kind of person who thrives in daily routine, it’s always a good idea to take a break from your habits. When you work on the same things, the same way, day in day out, you risk end up operating on auto-pilot. You might be efficient – but at the risk of creativity and innovation. Get out of the office, break the pattern, challenge yourself looking at how other professionals in your field do things, and ask yourself tough questions. It might be hard – but it will be worth it. You will go back with fresh ideas, and a sharper focus.

3. Take the time to dive deep

How often do you register to an online webinar, and then end up not attending? “I’ll watch the recording,” you say. Days pass, deadlines come and go, and the webinar link slowly goes forgotten in your email inbox, buried by more urgent tasks. At a conference, you have no excuses, and no way of getting distracted by that urgent email, or the last-minute meeting that disrupts your plans. Once there, you can really take the time to develop your skills, and delve into the content. You could join a session on a topic you have always wanted to learn about, but never had the time, or spend a couple of hours in a hands-on workshop that can  help develop your professional skills. And during the breaks you have the opportunity to chat with your peers, and get a feeling for what people in your industry are talking about. This is your time: use it wisely to invest in yourself, professionally and personally.

4. Find solutions to your pain points

You may not be the only one facing a specific challenge in your industry. However, while locked up in your office, looking at how much better the competition is doing, you risk feeling you are the only one facing these specific problems. Attend the right conference, and you are bound to experience at least one “Eureka!” moment when you realize that you are not alone, and there is a solution to your woes. Perhaps it will be a great session with the insights you needed to solve your issues. Perhaps you will discover, while talking to an expert at the event, that there is new technology that can solve all your pain points. Or maybe you will realize, while chatting in the hallways, that the issues you are facing are common to all your peers. One thing is sure: you will not find a breakthrough, or get the industry chatter, while sitting alone at your desk.

5. Get the information you really need, neatly packaged for you

Today, research engines can deliver all the information you need straight to your desk. Too much information, actually. Let’s admit it: nobody really has the time to go through all the newsletters and headlines, and find that piece that will really help you and your business. So, how do you weed out the noise, and find the articles that deliver the information that is valuable to you? At a focused industry conference, you get all the latest information, technology, best practices on exactly the topics that matter to you – neatly packaged under one roof. No need to waste time searching for valuable content: you can just focus on absorbing.

Make the most out of your participation at conneXion Munich!

conneXion Munich is coming up! On April 3-4 the LS Retail community will meet at the Westin Grand Munich for two days of sessions, workshops, a retail and hospitality tech expo, and of course plenty of networking opportunities. Here are our top tips to make sure you get the most out the conference.
  • Plan your schedule. Choose carefully which sessions or workshops you want to attend. Make sure you pick topics that are relevant to you – but don’t be afraid to try something new, too! The workshops have limited seats available, so if you are thinking of attending any, secure your spot as soon as possible!
  • Don’t be shy. Do you have a question? Ask away! Do you have feedback to deliver about the event, or a specific LS Retail product? Just stop any LS Retail employee (easily identified by their name tag), and give them your comments. They will be happy to help – and you will be glad you took the opportunity to speak up.
  • Maximize your networking opportunities. Talk to the people in the hallways, join conversations, and don’t hesitate to ask LS Retail staff members to introduce you to other attendees. Are you hoping to meet someone in specific? Then it pays off to do your research beforehand. On the conneXion app you can check who else is going to attend, and if you wish, connect with them directly.
  • Don’t miss out on the entertainment! We know it – after a full day of learning, we have all been tempted to stay in our room and catch up on emails. But that’s a terrible mistake to make! Personal connections are a big part of business – and nothing beats the connections made in front of a nice dinner, or during a cocktail party. Relax for a while, unwind, but make sure to show up at the events. This might be your chance to make that connection that dramatically impacts your professional career.
  • Share your learnings. Write a blog, jot a quick post, snap a few of the most interesting slides. Whatever you decide to do, don’t keep your learnings for yourself! Once you write stuff down to share with others, you better understand it, and remember it later. Use the official hashtag #cXMunich to make sure that everyone who might be interested, including your team back home, can get the key takeaways, and be inspired too.

We look forward to seeing you in Munich on April 3-4, 2019! If you haven’t registered yet, you should book a seat now – you will thank yourself later for having invested in your professional future! 

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