There are lots of opportunities, in life, to attend a conference to learn more about a subject that is going to be useful to you. However, some of these conferences can be expensive and it is often difficult to decide whether you will receive value for money if you pay and attend. Notice I didn’t say whether the conference is value for money, but whether it will be value for money to you.
We can approach this dilemma in a reasoned way. Take the cost of the course. Add to it the cost of getting there and, if you are going to lose money by attending, add that cost as well. So now we have the gross cost of attending. For our simple example, we will assume the cost is £500.
How much do you earn in an hour? Gross of course! If dividing your annual salary by the number of weeks in a year, take into account your holiday entitlement to get the true weekly cost, then divide by the number of days you work in a week, then by the number of hours in the day you work. Here, do not include overtime. Let us assume this figure is £25.
Now divide your hourly figure by the gross cost of attending the course. Which is 20.
Round up, not down, any decimals to get a whole figure. That is the amount of good ideas you will need to get from the conference to break even. These have to be real ideas that you will put into practice and use for at least a year. If you think an idea could be beneficial to you for the rest of your life, you can count it as two ideas for the purpose of this exercise. So, in the above example, if you don’t think you are going to get twenty good ideas, then the conference is over-priced. There may be other reasons you need to attend the conference for, such as networking amongst your peers, but at least you know what you will eventually be paying for.
Most conferences contain a detailed list of all the points that will be covered. Go over them carefully, and make a tally of any idea that you think you could glean from that section of the conference.
I have used this, whether successful or not, I could never be totally sure. However, those conferences or seminars I did eventually attend all produced the required number of new ideas I have adopted, and often many more. So, in my opinion, the costs were never wasted.