You could go to one everyday. Experts, gurus, mavens and wizards offering input on social media, SEO, content marketing, digital media, reputation management, email marketing, internet security, media relations, yada, yada, yada.
Should you go? Yes! Will you learn something? Maybe. Will it be time well spent? That’s the hard thing to know before you do it. It’s like parties: sometimes the party you’re invited to turns out to be far better or worse than you expected.
In the past few years, I have attended several such presentations. Some were free; some were attached to a luncheon or were part of an all-day conference.
On occasion, I have signed up immediately, been filled with great anticipation and been disappointed when the info shared was simple and basic. Other times I have gone to an event mainly to schmooze with some of the other attendees, only to have the presenter unexpectedly deliver meaningful, useful ideas and information.
A problem for presenters is estimating the baseline knowledge level of the audience. I’ve had presentations go way over my head and I’ve had presentations after which I wanted to say, “Tell me something I DON’T know!”
Whether you pay $40 for a luncheon ticket or just show up after work for the free beer, make a serious effort to walk away with new insight. I’ve always figured that if I can bring home one or two nuggets that I did not have before, there’s some value there. If I can put one of the new ideas into action, it was worth the effort to attend.
Two quick points: Take notes when you can. Even sketchy notes with a key word or two can help you recall what was imparted. Also, at conferences take advantage of opportunities to chat in the hallway between sessions. But don’t skip a session to gossip or tell old workplace war stories.
This week I am attending a (free) presentation titled Social Media Made Simple PLUS How To Really Use LinkedIn! Do I hope to learn something? Yes. Will it turn to have been time well spent? Maybe. There’s only one way to find out!