Annual Conference Benefits

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 work—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.