HOTELS ARE FILLING, air traffic is increasing, and live conferences and events are on the rise again! Everyone who includes these important gatherings in their business stratagem are happy to see that the world is opening back up. Of course, as more and more live event invitations cross our inbox, that age-old question arises… Which events are the best ones for you – or your team – to participate in?

Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffett, chances are your travel budget isn’t going to allow you to participate in every event that looks interesting (and let’s face it, even if you are Mark or Warren, your schedule probably isn’t going to allow it either). So how do you decide which events are worth your time and money? Answering these questions will help you get the most bang out of your hard-working buck.

What are your goals?

It’s important to know what you want the event producers to deliver before you decide which events to attend. Do you want to meet and connect with like-minded colleagues? Do you want to grow your network? Do you want to attract potential customers? Do you want to learn about new technology or industry trends?

Take some time to write down your top goals for a conference and then spend time exploring the event website (or even call the event producers) to see how what they offer aligns with the deliverables you want to receive. (BTW, any event producer who doesn’t give you direct access to a live voice who knows what’s going on when you have a question should probably get a checkmark in the “nope” column.)

Keep in mind, that you may not find everything you need at a single event. An event produced by an association you are a member of is likely to help you connect with people who have the same interests and passions you do. These events are great opportunities for deep dives into well-known topics and should be embraced if you are looking to explore nuances of your field(s) of expertise. An industry event is more likely to expose you to t he newest tools and technology available as well as broaden your network and expose you to creative and interesting solutions presented by different stakeholder perspectives. A symposium is often a smaller event where experts gather to discuss a very focused topic while a conference often offers a broad range of topics with a specific overlying theme.

The best value is most often found by combining several of your top event picks to give you well-rounded exposure to your area of interest and the industry in general.

What is your budget?

While the price of an event should never be the sole determinant for participation, let’s be honest, you want your money’s worth. Don’t just look at the price of admission! Make sure you understand what all is included in that ticket. What meals, if any, are covered? Are networking activities part of the package? Do you have to be a member to attend or get the best price? Is there early-bird pricing you should be aware of?

Don’t forget to think about travel and accommodations. What is the room rate for hotels in the event block? How close is the hotel to the event? Is transportation to and from the hotel and the convention center provided?

What about the location? Is it easy to fly (or drive) to? What will the flight cost? How long will it take to get there? How many layovers are involved? How does time-change affect your travel?

Finally, consider add-on expenses you may not have thought of. Will you need to invest in a professional wardrobe? Will you have clients attending that you should socialize with? Often, the true cost of an event isn’t the price of the ticket, but all the incidentals you need to pay for beyond the price of admission.

Who else is attending?

This is a surprisingly important question to ask yourself. Are the people you want to connect with going to be there? Can you meet with those who will provide future business, help you expand your network, or provide you with the social interaction live events promise?

You should take into consideration the size and format of the conference. An international event will often bring out all the major industry players, an association event often has fewer people, and a more intimate environment. Which better suits your needs or interests?

Who is speaking?

Pay attention to the keynotes, educational providers, panelists, and other organized speakers at the event. Are they people who have a message that will help you in your role? Are they industry experts who can speak knowledgeably on the topics you want to learn about? Are they service providers who offer the solutions you need?

What topics are being talked about?

It’s important to know the right people are speaking about the right topics at the event you are attending. Peruse the educational content offered carefully. Are they topics you are interested in? Are the speakers respected in their field and in a position to offer information that will support your needs?

What did past attendees think?

For any event, the proof is in the pudding. Did they live up to the promises they made in their advertising? Be sure to check the website of the event for statistics, endorsements, and quotes from past events. Be skeptical of any event that doesn’t willingly provide documentation of the claims they made.

Most events have their own social accounts and hashtags. Review them so you can get an idea of who’s interacting. This is important information. Are they the people you want to connect with? Are they well know in your industry? Are they making comments that drive you to learn more?

What are you missing if you do (or don’t) attend?

Let’s be real. FOMO exists. Are the “movers and shakers” of your industry present? Will decisions get made in your absence if you aren’t there? Is this an event people will be talking about all year, and you won’t be able to contribute to the conversation?

Almost every event that meets your needs will also impact your ability to participate. Is the event taking place at a time when being away from the office will be a big mistake? Are there important decisions that may need to be made in the office while you’re away? Is it the busiest time of the year? Will the boss frown on you being “out” while important things are happening?

It is crucial to begin planning for attendance at an event months in advance to make sure your schedule works for you – not against you.


There are many events out there that want your attention (and attendance). Be smart about which ones you attend. Make sure they deliver on their promises, provide the value you expect, and open doors that will advance your goals. Those events are the right ones for you!

Michele Moe in Managing Director of Infrastructure Resources, producers of the Global Excavation Safety Conference. To learn more about this event, visit, or contact Michele direct at or 651.242.8976.

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