Here’s Why You Should Attend Tech Conferences in Person

You’ll meet more people and have more fun, to start.

Published on Jun. 24, 2024
Here’s Why You Should Attend Tech Conferences in Person
Image: The Image Party / Shutterstock / Built In
Brand Studio Logo

It’s been awhile since I last attended a conference in person, mainly because the pandemic has changed the way people interact with one another. Let’s face it: Virtual and hybrid events that you can participate in from the comfort of your home, in pajamas if you so choose, are nice and convenient, which is why they have taken precedence. 

9 Pro Tips for Attending a Tech Conference

  1. Bring plenty of business cards.
  2. Make sure your website is working properly.
  3. Sketch out a plan for each day so you make sure you see everything you want to.
  4. Register for and attend a few seminars.
  5. Network and introduce yourself to peers and industry experts.
  6. Attend after parties.
  7. Limit your alcohol intake at the conference, particularly social occasions.
  8. Stay at a hotel close to the conference venue.
  9. Bring and wear comfortable shoes.

Rather than staying stuck in my ways, I switched up my routine so I could attend RenderATL, the biggest software engineering conference in the country, in person. I’m so glad that I made the decision to immerse myself in this unique experience. It changed my career trajectory as well as my entire outlook on the significance of showing up at events in person to get the most out of them. 

Here are the top reasons why you should attend conferences in person whenever you can.

More from Brennan Nevada JohnsonHow to Tell Your Boss to Stop Doing Your Job


You Build Your Network

RenderATL attracted more than 5,000 individuals and 70-plus exhibitors from around the globe for three days. I’ve never seen such a melting pot and one so vastly different from the usual tech community.

Having a common interest with total strangers in a setting like a massive conference, which brings together people from all geographical areas, professional backgrounds and cultures is something you don’t often get to experience. I knew that this was such a rare occurrence, which is why I networked and mingled as much as possible. I did this by passing out my business cards (which made people remember me since mostly everyone resorts to connecting over social media), and attending after parties and intimate dinners.

I get that not everyone enjoys networking and meeting new people. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that it’s so much easier to interact with like-minded individuals at conferences because everyone is there for the same reasons you are. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and foster new relationships, exchange ideas and even make future plans on site. 
 

You Learn a Ton

RenderATL is known as a continuing education conference for people at all levels in their tech careers. I met with everyone from senior professionals to recent college graduates, all of whom said they walked away with knowledge they didn’t possess prior to the conference. 

When you attend a conference, you cannot avoid learning new things. This isn’t just because you’re listening to talks and presentations from industry thought leaders. It’s because you get to attend workshops that give you a whole new perspective on your own work. I learned so much outside of my field of expertise just by popping into different segments of the event.

From AI to devops and programming, I found so much to do and explore. Probably one of my favorite aspects of attending RenderATL was getting an inside look and behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the latest trends and technologies.

It’s also no secret that a lot of conferences lend themselves as the perfect space to drop an announcement or unveil news to a mass audience. You never know what you might hear and witness about what businesses and what their founders are working on before everyone else finds out days later. 

 

You Can Promote Yourself 

Attending conferences is one of the best ways to find new clients and build a positive brand name and reputation. They give you the chance to speak publicly about your business or unique skill set and the exposure they give you is unmatched. Conferences also are a great way to practice pitching your company and services. I attracted so much positive attention to my business from being at RenderATL that I walked away with several potential new clients. 

Conferences give you the opportunity to increase brand awareness, generate leads and get on the radar of people and businesses who may not have learned about you if you hadn’t attended. You’re finally in the room with those you have always wanted to do business with. When prospects see you at conferences, it helps establish trust and credibility because it shows you’re making a conscious effort to improve your business and expand your offerings. As you gear up to take your business to the next stage, be sure that you double check your resources. Make sure your website is working correctly and have your press kit or FAQ ready and on hand. 

More Career Development Tips5 Tips for Landing a Dream Tech Job

 

You’ll Have Lots of Fun

Whenever you’re at a conference and someone asks you to go to an after-party, accept the invitation without hesitation. At RenderATL, some of my most meaningful connections happened in the evening, long after the conference was done for the day. The swag bags weren’t bad, either. 

This isn’t the time to focus on business talk. Instead, have some fun in an informal setting that can lead to more personal conversations. Plus, the parties at conferences tend to be over the top and amazing, a far cry from the usual awful office happy hour. For instance, Render Haus at RenderATL had an impressive concert lineup with private performances from incredible celebrities. There are usually surprise guest appearances at these types of events, too.

Parties are also a good chance to sport your favorite attire, which can showcase more of your personality. Believe me, the professional photos will prove it. An after-party is the best atmosphere in which to interact with the who’s who without the added pressure of being too buttoned up.

Sure, virtual events cost less and are more convenient to attend, but the return on investment isn’t the same as when you attend a conference in-person. If you’re hoping to break free of the mundane and connect with industry experts and peers, boost your business and get inspired in your career, leap at the opportunity to create lasting memories by ditching the live stream and experiencing your next event in the flesh.

Hiring Now
Honeybee Robotics
Aerospace • Hardware • Professional Services • Robotics • Software • Defense • Manufacturing
SHARE