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Industry Conferences – educational opportunity or self-indulgent showcases?

I have been to some amazing conferences but then I have also attended some not so amazing conferences. I personally choose to attend a selected few as it can be an opportunity to leave with good knowledge! As the majority of the conferences I have been to I have ALWAYS taken at least one new snippet of knowledge or one new contact away. Sometimes conferences can be more about industry boasting, they can also feel ‘clicky’ or ‘awkward’. However some of the best practitioners I now follow or know are as a result of a conference! I think a lot of my hesitance to attend conferences does come from my earlier days and feeling inadequate to the other attendees.

I wasn’t a prescriber initially, I was young & new to the industry. I couldn’t help but feel judged! Everyone was familiar with each other, everyone had such strong opinions on new practitioners, techniques and what qualifications are perceived to be the best. I was scared to even say my name let alone join the debate! I sat and listened and took a hell of a lot of knowledge and experience away, without popping my head too high to risk being shot back down. Over the years I’ve learnt that conferences are what you make of them, you can rush straight in and get involved or you can quietly observe the action. As long as you leave with something! Maybe more knowledge, a new industry contact or even feeling a little more inspired, it served its purpose!

Grace Cobner

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