Fast Company has a great article from Nancy Lubin on how to select which events are worth your time, and which are time-wasters. Quite a nice check-list for organisers as well 😉
Travel-Worthy or Time Waster? Take Nancy’s Quiz Before Attending Your Next Conference.
The conference is:
b) open to anyone, but some of the attendees are people you are dying to meet
c) open to anyone but focused on a niche topic you love, so you might bond with a few good folks
d) the equivalent of a buffet in Atlantic City: open to everyone, cheap, and a little bit dirty.
The conference is in:
a) the city where you live and/or work
b) a location you’re dying to visit
c) an undesirable market but within three hours’ commute
The conference will take place:
a) over three workdays during a slow period at the office
b) over a non-holiday weekend and includes an open bar
c) during that Lady Gaga concert you were planning to see
d) on the same weekend as your sister’s wedding.
The conference is:
a) all expenses paid, including travel and hotel
b) free, but you cover your own travel and lodging
c) kinda pricey
d) going to require a second mortgage.
5. Your role.
a) a featured speaker
b) like any other participant — treated equally and on lots of panels
c) hoping to ask a public question
d) encouraged to be seen but not heard.
Food. Samantha Smith is one of my favorite interns and a conference junkie in the making. She suggests a bonus of five points if the food is plentiful and free.
Scoring guide: (a)=10 points each (b)=7.5 (c)=4 (d)=2
40 – 55 points. Pack your bags and kiss the kids goodbye! Davos, TED — here you come!
30 – 40 points. Worth doing. A couple of tips to maximize the benefits: If you’re on a panel, go last. Be the cleanup hitter that pulls things together. Look at the attendee list in advance. Who are these folks? Make a list of the people you’d like to meet — and schedule those meetings in advance.
20 – 30 points. This conference doesn’t quite meet the bar. Invest your time and money in better bets more suited to your availability, resources, and skills.
10 – 20 points. Schedule a nice dental checkup instead, and maybe get a dog. Do something — anything — else. This is a boondoggle not worth the bother.