Unplug, unplugging

Can You Afford Not to Unplug?

By Kate Delaney

There are more ways than ever before to stay connected. In one respect, technology has given us an enormous advantage in business. It’s quick and easy to email, text, and skype with clients and peers in your industry. However, are you really building connections when this is the only way you meet?

For the past five years, there were plenty of predictions about conventions, off-site meetings and corporate outings going away. It didn’t happen. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, conventions and events are expected to expand by 44 percent by 2020 and far beyond.

I would argue we’ll continue to see that growth. As a speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to witness the power of an in-person gathering. When I’m off the stage I see people in the hallways talking, laughing, exchanging information. The lounges and the bars after education breakaways are flooded along with the coffee bars.

Typically, the events I speak at are put on by trade associations, nonprofit institutes, or, frankly, corporations with money and a vision for how to get a return on investment. The right theme, speakers, and crowd can spread the wealth.

Missing time in the office, spending often thousands of dollars to be at an event or conference seem ridiculous to some. I disagree. Attending the right event, being seen, meeting new people, sharing ideas, and learning new ones is priceless. If you want to really connect, unplug from the everyday environment.

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