At Brilliant Noise, we’ve recently hosted a series of interactive workshops. After one such event, I found myself thinking about what makes for a good event and what would motivate me to get out of the office and attend.
I was reminded of a recent weekend story. I’m an avid walker, but I sometimes find it difficult to get up early, get the boots on, and get out the front door. Recently, I did make the effort and — by accident — joined the wrong group of walkers. Instead of an organised Ramblers walk, I fell in with a group of Buddhist meditators (led by an ordained Buddhist monk) doing a country walk as part of a weekend meditation retreat.
And, sometime during the day, I agreed to take part in an all-day silent meditation retreat. The retreat event was an enormously positive experience — and I was part of that because I made the effort to get my boots on that morning.
This experience made me think about the role of industry events and workshops in our working lives. Through my work in user and customer experience design, I’ve attended more events and workshops than I can easily count. And, as a former Forrester Analyst, I’ve hosted and delivered numerous myself. Almost without exception, I find attending them to be a special part of my work.
Here’s why I think it’s worth the effort to get the boots on and go.
Have new thoughts
Sometimes you can be directly inspired by a speaker or attendee, but often just the time away from a busy routine creates the space for new insights to emerge. You can often measure the quality of an event by the number of notes you take.
Meet new people
Events aren’t just for the extroverted. Introverts can experience networking as a series of one-to-one conversations. You could end up meeting potential clients, or people you’d like to work with.
Compare what I’m doing with others
Let’s face it, in our working lives we can sometimes find ourselves in a bit of a vacuum. There’s nothing like seeing what others are doing to help you to evaluate the quality and direction of your own work. Sometimes it’s humbling, but sometimes it’s exciting to discover that your work is unique and a bit special.
Feel inspired to try something new
Whilst attending a fantastic design conference, I was inspired to start sketching the stage and speaker in my notebook (very badly). I hadn’t put pencil to paper in years, but the inspiration of that moment was to use sketching to tell stories about my work and to illustrate ideas, regardless of the quality of my drawing skills. This is a practice I continue to use to this day.
Want to share new ideas with my colleagues
Delivering a short talk about what you learned at the conference to your colleagues helps to pass on any inspiring ideas, best practices or new ways of working. If any of these are then introduced into your operations, then the trip to the event was worth the time, money and effort spent.
Now, whenever I find my motivation lacking to participate in an industry or thought-provoking event, I will think about stumbling upon a Buddhist monk on the South Downs and what might happen if I make the effort to “get my boots on” and get out of the office. Hopefully, something utterly fascinating.
If you’ve just been to an event, read my post So you’ve been to an event, now what?