There are lots of reasons to go to conferences; it is an opportunity for creativity and innovation, networking and learning, to gain confidence in your abilities and a reason to break out the office and out of your comfort zone. Highlighted below are just a few of the reasons people attend conferences.

1. To network

A big reason for going to conferences is to meet with likeminded people and industry peers. Conferences bring together people from all different geographical areas who share a common discipline or field, and they are a great way to meet new people.

2. To expand your knowledge and find solutions to problems

Conferences are great opportunity to learn more about your industry. For example, these could be new techniques, new types of equipment, unpublished data, creative and innovative ways of looking at solutions to problems, or potentially learn from thought-leaders that you may not have previously heard of.

3. To present your ideas and work to others

Sharing your ideas and thoughts with a variety of people from similar or related fields is always good practice. Presenting will make you more confident about the work that you do, and gives you new perspective about your work as people may ask questions that make you think about your project differently.

4. For people to meet you

Conferences are also a good way for people to meet you. Regardless if you are the CEO or an entry level employee, you may meet someone at a meal, in the exhibit hall or wherever and within a few minutes, you can make a connection with someone that could dramatically impact your professional career.

5. Learn beyond your field or interest

These are some of the benefits of attending conferences, since not only will you learn things outside your field but also about other areas of research in your discipline. In addition, attending a conference will have many sessions for professional development and career advice.

So next time your boss asks you to go to a conference you may want to think of all the benefits to you and your colleagues, and as reminder if you aren’t there, there is a good chance your competition will be.