Unpopular opinion (or maybe a popular one and folks just don't say it? 🤔): I HATE business conferences. More specifically, in-person ones.
Don't get me wrong, I know that conferences are often an excellent opportunity to learn something new, network, find clients and/or job opportunities, etc. But there are a number of things that lead me to avoid them:
- The talks almost always feel too polished, calculated, and rehearsed... sales-y, if you will.
- The larger the conference, the more... cult-like it feels. There always seems to be this unspoken elitist vibe amongst the speakers, especially with the keynote speaker(s), as if we as the audience should be indebted to them (more often than not, my ticket is covering my debt... sooooo....).
- Networking almost always feels incredibly forced there. And I only have so much small talk to give, especially when I'm one of few Black women in attendance... if not the only.
(The last few may seem a bit more ridiculous, but are valid to me...)
- I'm not really a fan of traditional business casual (my style is one of the many ways that I express myself as a creative), but our society still has these "unwritten rules" of "professionalism" (read: wh*te s*upremacist culture) in which, by default, you're taken less seriously if you don't dress or present yourself a certain way (for many, my *natural* kinky/coily hair is still not "acceptable").
- The food, despite the cost of the conference, is almost always a buzzkill. Boxed lunch, anyone?
- Heck, while we're at it, let's add in those ridiculous lanyards for nametags and wasteful swag that's almost always useless and just contributes to excessive landfill.
What are your thoughts? Have you been to conferences where these things didn't apply? What made a difference?