Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals have been uncertain about whether or not it is safe to attend business conferences. Now that the pandemic is beginning to subside, many conference organizations are resuming in-person events.
It's up to attendees themselves to decide whether it's safe for them to go and what precautions they need to take to be safe in a large crowd of people.
Business conferences can provide an important opportunity for you to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your field. Here, we'll help you decide whether going to that next conference could be worth it for you, and we'll explore some of the precautions you can take to keep yourself safe and healthy.
Determining Whether a Business Conference is Worth It for You
By most standards, much of the world has returned to a state of relative normality, at least compared to when the pandemic started. Many businesses no longer require face coverings for guests, and in-person conferences have been occurring for several months now.
However, the spread of COVID-19 is far from over. Health officials are still tracking new variants as they emerge, and boosters for the COVID-19 vaccine are still being issued or are in development.
According to CDC data, average rates of new infections even increased over the summer of 2022, although they are not nearly as high as they were during the previous winter.
Risks of Attending a Business Conference
The risks of attending a business conference can vary depending on the location of the conference and the level of personal contact you have with other people. If you are attending a conference in a city that is still severely affected by COVID-19, there is a greater risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, if you are not following proper hygiene precautions such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with others, you may be at risk of contracting the virus.
Risks Other Than COVID-19
There are other risks associated with business travel and conference attendance you should be aware of. Some of these risks may depend on where the conference is occurring.
For example, traveling overseas for a conference could introduce you to any potential risks associated with international travel. These risks can include anything from theft and illness to culture shock or getting lost. You should be aware of current outbreaks of other diseases in any country or city you plan on visiting.
If your company has a travel procurement function, your procurement team should be aware of any associated risks with your travel arrangements. Be sure to pay close attention to the information they provide you.
Benefits of Attending a Business Conference
Attending an event that hosts a large gathering of people always introduces a certain amount of risk, but the benefits of going to a business conference could far outweigh them. You can learn about the latest trends in your field, network with other professionals, and even learn new strategies you can apply when you return home.
Learn About the Latest Trends in Your Field
Conferences typically offer new insights into the latest developments in a particular field. For example, marketing conferences explore trends that are shaping the industry, as well as what marketing strategies are working with today's customers.
Conferences can be great opportunities to obtain industry benchmarking information so you can determine where your company stands against your competitors. They can also provide opportunities to see what the most innovative companies are doing, so you can learn from their success.
Network with Other Professionals
Conferences are excellent opportunities to obtain new partners and clients. Most conferences host booths where providers network with attendees and give them information about their services.
You can also attend networking events to find potential leads. You can then introduce those leads into your CRM after the conference, so you can continue nurturing them.
Gain New Skills and Knowledge
Business conferences often host workshops and roundtables to help attendees learn new skills. These can be invaluable experiences for companies that need to refresh their knowledge or adopt new processes.
Get Inspired and Motivated
Finally, many business conferences host keynote speeches and other events to inspire the audience. You could hear from leaders in your industry or even world leaders, celebrities, authors, and other trendsetters.
Getting the Most Out of Your Next Business Conference
If you want to attend a business conference in the current climate, you'll need to focus on getting the most out of your experience while staying safe.
Your first course of action should be to follow all safety guidelines provided by the conference's hosts. These may include guidelines associated with the specific venue. Keep in mind that some venues may require that you show proof of vaccination, and some may also require you to wear facial covering during the entire conference or at specific events.
In most cases, you can prevent the possibility of infection by doing the following:
- Following basic hygiene practices, like handwashing
- Avoiding large groups
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Getting tested for COVID-19 before attending the conference
You should also take steps to protect your overall health. These steps will ensure you are ready and alert throughout the conference:
- Staying hydrated
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Choosing healthy meals
- Avoiding large quantities of alcohol
- Getting regular light exercise
Be sure to bring a notepad or recording device so you can get records of everything you learn at the conference. If the conference is part of your lead-gen strategy, leverage the tools you have available to gain basic information about the professionals you meet, such as their names, roles, titles, and email addresses.
Get Ready for Your Next Conference
By taking precautions to stay safe and healthy, you can enjoy the benefits of your next business conference while minimizing any potential risks.
For more information about how you can leverage business conferences as part of your lead-gen campaigns, contact us at Aptitude 8 today.