July 28… and yes, I’m still thinking about Spark.Me.
The lasting benefits of attending a small conference like Spark.me are not only about the sessions, but they have been about the networking and relationships that have followed online and off.
Not every professional conference has the clout or size like SxSW or TechCrunch, which is why some amazing ones can slip right past you. For me, Spark.me was one of those. It’s a two-day tech/marketing conference in the country of Montenegro. If it had not been for my internship in Montenegro, I would never have heard of it.
And, I would have missed out.
Spark.me changed my view of small conferences and why these conferences are worth attending. Here are a few reasons conferences like Spark.me are worth your time and money.
- They Create Networking Opportunities. You will not meet and add a thousand people to your LinkedIn network if you go to a small conference, but, that’s not all networking is.
The best business connections you can make are the ones that will last, and it takes a good conversation between two people. In a smaller setting, you will be able to really hear what others are doing and what their business is creating. It’s not about how many people you meet, but more about the conversations that you have during the coffee breaks. This easily happens at smaller conferences for a couple of reasons: less people (less noise) and easy accessibility to speakers and attendees.
You don’t have to go to a big conference to find great people in your industry. You just need to make an effort to meet them and make a sincere connection.
- They Help Local People. Small conferences, while more regional in their reach, can be very powerful in effect.
Spark.me provides a great example. Each year they inspire tech and marketing people in the Balkans to set and achieve great goals. It is easier for local students and entrepreneurs to engage in the industry’s conversation while not traveling too far.
The people at Spark.me are improving their community through education and business opportunities – and that’s definitely something that I support.
- There’s Always Something You Can Learn. The big conferences have the thought leaders of today. You’ll hear the latest trends and buzzwords and encounter the industry’s “celebrities.”
Fortunately, small conferences bring in speakers who you may have never heard of, and that is not a bad thing. There are many people who are working hard and creating new ideas in the industry and also working on “smaller” lesser-known projects.
Great speakers who are working hard in the industry can provide practical information and hands-on information that are on par or even more informative than these well-known thought leaders.
Spark.me organizers work hard on bringing in speakers who are entertaining and engaging, but who also provide diverse content, such as Rory Sutherland and Heather B. Armstrong.
The bottom line: don’t underestimate a small conference.
If you’re looking to network or get up-to-date information on industry practices, any good, reputable conference can offer you this. Do your research by searching the Internet and asking others. See if there are any professional conferences near you.
And if you are still unsure what professional conference you should attend, I suggest you see when the next Spark.me conference is and you, too, will see how great a small conference can be.