How Attending a Conference can Benefit your Career

Attending conference enhances your knowledge and enables networking to develop your career. Professionals attend conferences for several reasons. These include meeting people, exchanging ideas, finding solutions to our problems, being updated of the latest developments, and so on.

In the last 20 years, I have not missed even a single STC India Conference. And I am glad to mention that every time I participated; the learning has justified the investment. I recommend everyone in the Technical Communication community in India to attend the STC India conference.

Here are some points that can influence your decision to participate.

  • Get Powerful Thoughts: By attending the conference, you get many powerful thoughts and ideas.  Every conference gives you 2-3 powerful thoughts that can change your thinking. At the same time, you may also get 7-10 ideas about how you can improve your productivity. These could be about tools, processes, and so on.
  • Expand your Network: Conference is like a cluster of inter-related events. A lot of things happen there at the same time. There is something useful in a conference for everyone. Professionals attend conferences to present papers, speak, listen, participate in workshops, look at software demonstrations, interact with thought-leaders, and make friends. STC India conference helps you to expand your network nationally as well as internationally. Naturally, your LinkedIn network will also grow and mature. This helps you in the long term.
  • Combine Business with Fun: Conference gives you a break from your daily work life. It brings a welcome change to your daily routine and breaks the monotony. If possible, you may attend the conference with your family. So, while attending the conference, your family gets a break, and you get some family time after the conference is over.
  • Observe the Speakers: It allows you to note how good (or bad) others are. Many times, after seeing someone else’s presentation, you may realize yours would have been much better. Or you may attend a speaker’s presentation who will mesmerize you to such an extent that you decide to never miss any session of that speaker in future. You would become an evangelist of the topic and recommend everyone to take an interest in it.
  • Let your Company Pay: Many companies have a separate budget for conference participation and training. It is mandatory to consume that budget. Many companies pay your conference expenses (especially if you are a speaker.) This makes your company’s presence felt in the conference/event. Check with your HR if conference expenses are a part of your CTC.
  • Conference Expenses are Tax-Deductible: Spending money to attend or participate in a conference is considered to be a part of professional development. You may be able to claim an income tax benefit on this expense. This means when you attend, the entire amount is not paid from your pocket. A part of it is coming from your tax payments. To know more about this, talk to your Chartered Accountant/Tax Consultant.
  • Visit Exhibitor Booths: Learning does not happen only inside the presentation rooms. It also takes place at the exhibitor booths. There is so much that you can learn about the latest tools, their features, versions, bug-fixes, and processes.
  • Be a Speaker: Share your knowledge as a speaker. It gives you visibility and provides feedback from experts. I got a lot of recognition as a thought leader and a trainer through my presentations and workshops. This could be an essential value-addition (in fact a highlight) to your resume. STC India reserves slots for first-time speakers (called debutant sessions) and even for topics that do not need full sessions (called PowerTalk).
  • Be a Volunteer: I always felt that I learnt more as a volunteer than I learnt as a participant. Being a volunteer gave me an opportunity to work with and learn from others. We made winning teams and delivered together. I faced many situations that I otherwise would have never faced. As a leader of the community, I had to coordinate with many guests, speakers, sponsors, participants, senior managers, and so on. All that has helped me to develop people-skills.
  • Attend as a Group: Like all other national and international-level conferences, STC India conferences have multiple presentation tracks. No one person can cover everything. It makes sense to participate as a group. The group members can attend different sessions and later inform each other about what they learnt. Participating as a group gives you the opportunity to learn more. Attending as a group may also help you to get discounted deals for traveling, lodging, food, and other expenses.

Tips for Participants

  • Before the conference, identify the sessions you want to attend.
  • Send a formal email asking company sponsorship for the conference expenses. Include a list of benefits to you and the company.
  • Check for group discount rates and early bird registration discounts.
  • Confirm your participation at least 2 months in advance.
  • Book your travel ticket & hotel in time to get the best deals.
  • Try to share the hotel expenses.
  • Avoid long travels to the conference venue. Book your stay at the same or nearby hotel. This gives you more time to learn.
  • Check if you want to attend any workshops (conducted as pre-conference workshops).
  • When asking questions, or making a comment restrict yourself to less than 20 seconds.
  • Network with people you do not know.
  • Get connected to the people you got introduced through a professional network like LinkedIn.
  • Find out more about the conference city and try to visit some popular locations in the city.
  • After the conference is over, you can follow speakers on Twitter. Check if they have published articles or videos.

Whenever I come back from a conference, I can recount the benefits to be much more than the investments.

A new entrant to Technical Communication should definitely attend the STC India conference. It will open your mind to a world of possibilities. Knowingly or unknowingly the smartness and the intelligence rub on to your personality. Very soon, you will find that you are a speaker yourself. Good luck.


-Makarand Pandit

The writer is a founder member of STC India Chapter and a Fellow of STC. He is the Managing Director of Technowrites, a company specialising in technical writing services, consultancy, and training.