Attending a conference is a big financial commitment to your, or your staff’s, professional development.

Fresh into a new calendar year it’s important review your organisation plans for the next six to 12 months. One key component is to look at your, and your staff’s, professional development. Why? To stay at the forefront of the industry, you need to keep up to date with the latest in tools, trends, tactics and benchmark against your industry. If like us you are looking for a way of obtaining the most information for your dollar, industry conferences, workshops and events could be something to consider. As with all professional development, it’s essential to be discerning about which conference you want to attend.

But if you are sitting on the fence, we have three great reasons you, or your staff, should consider attending a conference.

1. Networking

Conferences or events have most, if not all, of industry together in one room, which is an opportunity that doesn’t come along that often. You have the chance to mix and mingle, form new relationships and reconnect with existing ones. You never know who you, or your staff, end up sitting beside, standing next to in the coffee line or in a workshop. Meeting new people and talking about different aspects of the industry also helps you understand the wider market.  The other benefit is the chance to create a network in your industry that can be important for your career and your organisation.

2. New tools, tips and tactics

A conference is a great way to stay at the forefront of the community services industry. Thought leaders, industry experts, the latest in best practice, case studies and success stories are all shared across a range of sessions. Often there are presenters who bring topics, information, tools and tactics that worked in another state or country, in a way that you may not have been able to access them. The added benefit is that all the learnings can be brought back to the organisation and shared at the next staff meeting.

3. Grow your brand

Everyone has a personal brand along with their organisation brand. Do you want to be known as an expert in your area, or even a thought leader? Or even well-known within the interesting. Attending conferences gives you a chance to talk to other people in your industry about what you are doing, but most conferences have a social media component that you can participate. After the event you can publish a blog on a social media platform like LinkedIn to share your experience and learnings with your own network.

Are you looking for some inspiration for a conference to attend? We have found a couple that might be of interest, including some great events CSIA offers:

  • Unpacking priorities and practices, Cairns, 15 February introduces you to a framework developed by Dr Aastha Malhotra.
  • NDS Queensland Conference, Brisbane, 5-6 March. The theme is finding the way forward.
  • Myriad Festival, Brisbane, 16-18 May Featuring founders, investors, thought leaders and senior executives from some of the most influential brands on the planet, Myriad 2018 is where Australia meets the future.
  • Community Legal Centres Queensland Conference, Brisbane, 8-9 March.
  • QCOSS Conference, Brisbane, 16-17 May The stories we tell ourselves now will predict the future. How can we change these stories to create the future we want? How do we move our communities closer to creating better wellbeing for all by challenging how we talk about the world?
  • Early Education and Care Conference, Brisbane, 29 June -1 July (that content is from 2017 though, unless they’re repeating the program from last year)
  • International Evaluation Conference, Australasian Evaluation Society, Launceston, 19-21 September.
  • ACOSS National Conference, Sydney, 29-30 October.
  • Social Enterprise Conference (Social Traders) – 2018 date to be confirmed.
  • The annual Disability Employment Australia Conference – 2018 date to be confirmed.
  • BiiG Network Conference (Business Innovation and Improvement in Government) – 2018 date to be confirmed.