Question: What are the benefits/ROI of attending the annual STC conference? Here is a list of the benefits people mentioned: $545 is inexpensive it's tax deductible 5 to 10 times return on expenses, but only after several years networking vacation investment in self skill sessions trends professional growth sense of community friendship face-to-face communication exhibit hall booths staffed by decision-makers in the industry great exposure for presenters good first speaking engagement presentations force you to analyze their work more find speakers for local chapter national exposure at society level chapter role training And the drawbacks: sessions are too brief to provide useful information vendors are less than stellar speakers do not get any price breaks rare to get an immediate contract without spending a long time, you do not get any work from conferences and volunteering as a speaker, hard to make anyone happy Useful Advice for Attending the Conference: Go this year; if you don't make it back over the year, don't go back next year. Go with the goal of recouping the cost of the conference, and not more; identify attendees and vendors who can use your services Write down 3 to 5 things to accomplish, and put it in the badge holder to remind yourself of goals. Write down how you met and a tidbit about each person on the back of the business card, then follow up by email within a week. Networking doesn't just work when you need workâ€”it's an all the time thing. It comes back 3-fold, but over time. Get hotel/airfare combination prices. If you belong to a casino's player's club, call for your player's rate (mine was $30/night). Only useful for the Las Vegas conference.