Jeff Brandt asked on Twitter at the end of the conference if the educational sessions or the networking opportunities were more valuable from the conference. I my 140 characters on Twitter I replied that I thought the networking was more valuable, but the firm wanted to see the quality sessions for the money spent. I wanted to take a minute and explain that in more detail.
Obviously, the organization paying to send you to ILTA, or any conference, is going to be looking for those quality educational sessions, and what information you bring back from those sessions that add value to them. That’s expected, and ILTA provides plenty of great sessions. I know I’m bringing back some ideas I will be implementing from the sessions I attended, and think they will provide great benefit to the firm.
At the same time, though. I am also bringing back lots of little tips and ideas that I picked up outside of the educational sessions, from conversations I had with folks, sometimes well into the morning hours. While those tips I picked up informally might not quite equal the value of the formal educational sessions, those conversations do something that the sessions could never do, they formed connections, or enhanced existing connections, that I will take with me going forward. These are folks who I will continue conversing with, even if it is just online, sharing information, ideas, tips, stories, etc. The educational sessions, good as they were, are done. The relationships are not.
I know that some of the folks I met for the very first time this past week, I will continue to be in touch with, and continue to gain knowledge from being connected with them. That’s a value that may be hard to put a dollar amount on, but it’s much higher than any one week’s worth of sessions could hope to be.
I’m looking forward to continuing the conversations.