Friday, April 17, 2015

Catch Conference "Fever" !!


2014 Quality in the Triangle Conference
This month's blog topic is the Pros and Cons of Conferences. In her blog post on the subject, Julia McIntosh asks ASQ bloggers to address the hows and whys of conference attendance.

It's a compelling subject as we head into a busy spring schedule with the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement and my local chapter's ASQ Quality in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, USA) in May.

I humbly submit that the Pros of attendance at conferences far outweigh the Cons.

Pros

  • Accessibility to peers, leaders, and new contacts (Networking)
  • Exchange of information and ideas
  • Education at workshops and classes
  • Relationship building outside the workplace
  • Validation as an interested party in the conference subject
  • Convenient exposure to innovations in the conference subject (Exhibits, Vendor Displays)
  • Join a gathering of individuals with common interests starting with the conference subject
  • Participate in meetings to contribute to policy or standards formation
  • Get energized and inspired by conference offerings

 Cons

  • Expensive Travel
  • Inconvenient absence from job


When I handled quality claim resolution for Burlington Industries, conferences were an opportunity to meet  customer quality managers outside of the hectic pace and pressure of the manufacturing plant. Relationships could evolve on more friendly terms at the conference. My presence at quality conferences specifically for the textile trade validated my position and definitely earned respect with my customer contacts. Meetings on test methods were a chance to be involved in standards establishment.

As a Marketing Specialist investigating new markets for fabric applications, conferences provided access to new contacts and education about unfamiliar fields. A Healthcare conference, for example, allowed conversations with nurses who provided feedback on fabric samples.


 


I base my decision to attend conferences on the following:
  • Networking (Who is attending the conference?)
  • Expense (How much will it cost including travel?)
  • Location (How much travel is involved to get there?)
  • Subject (Can I learn something new?)
I'm not working for a company right now so my budget is restricted to local conferences. In May, I'll be attending both a Writers Conference and the Quality in the Triangle conference. I expect to learn a lot and network with other writers and quality professionals. See you there!

Great conference, guys!

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