Let’s get the first things first and take a moment to lay down the differences between workshops, conferences, symposiums, and alike.
A conference is a formal gathering of individuals who share common goals and ideals. It does not necessarily have to be academic but focuses on discussions and speeches covering specific yet relevant topics. Participants are experienced and knowledgeable in the field, though they may not be experts. Moreover, the chances for a participant to get hands-on experiences is very slim, and you probably will leave a conference with a lot of unanswered questions.
A symposium is a discussions-panel or meeting of experts in a given field for the express purpose of imparting views on a particular topic. A symposium is generally considered a small conference. Similar disadvantages as those found in conferences apply to symposiums as well.
A seminar is a form of academic instruction, either at a university or offered by an organization. It brings together small groups for meetings that recur focusing on a particular subject. Seminars are a great learning environment, but most of the time they are just theoretical instead of practical, so hands-on experiences are very rare.
A workshop may take elements from symposiums, conferences and many other forms of corporate get-togethers, but where they differ is in process and focus. Workshops are designed to bring in the top talent in a given field to provide a hands-on learning experience. The interaction of participants makes workshops dynamic and less tedious than seminars and conferences, and they offer an excellent opportunity for networking with like-minded individuals. Almost, if not all your questions regarding the topic will be answered, and participants generally create a bond with the speaker that can grow into mentorship relationships that will last a lifetime.
Regardless of what your workshop will cover, you can rest assured your speaker/tutor will not only be knowledgeable in the field but enjoyable as well.
Once you have touched base with the processes, it is time to put what you are learning into practice. Each workshop will be somewhat different in the scope of hands-on training you will receive, but all will offer some actual practice of the concepts. Open dialogue between participants reinforces the fundamental concepts while also providing fresh perspectives as well as varying methods.
Perhaps the real difference in workshops is the fact that they can be a lot of fun. Participants will learn and grow in their abilities, but in an atmosphere that is lighthearted, exciting and inspiring.
Workshop organizers and speakers will take the time to provide you with visual aids and create an environment where ideas flow freely, and people enjoy the process.
After a successful workshop you will discover just how enjoyable learning about new ideas and processes can be, but more importantly, you will have gained knowledge that could instantly set you apart from the crowd. Moreover, you will be able to take what you learned back to your peers and pass along that knowledge. In addition to improving your career options, you could efficiently strengthen your entire organization.
Attending workshops puts you in direct contact with peers and mentors in your field who often are from various parts of the world. It is what you know and who you know. Education and experience will take you far, but so will interacting with other professionals in your field, and workshops are a great networking opportunity.
By attending workshops throughout your career, you will always be better positioned than your co-workers or competitors if you freelance. Consistent attendance at workshops can quickly position you up as an expert in your field. When you invest the time to consistently upgrade your knowledge you move into the realm of the masters, which could put you in place to step up, sometimes, even into an advisory position. It is not uncommon at all for the top people in their field to start their own business as a master advisor or a public speaker.
The bottom line? Workshops are a great way to continue your education without the problem of student loans and working around class schedules. Workshops can help keep you on the cutting edge and viable in your chosen profession.
As a side note, keep in mind how your dedication will look on your resume. Even if you are looking to change your career path entirely, the fact that you care enough about your work to attend workshops will speak volumes to future employers in any field.
Any career professional can benefit from workshops, but those who are in the Digital Technologies fields, really need the edge workshops can provide.
Technology is moving at breakneck speed and today’s software options are tomorrow’s obsolete programs. Thankfully, interacting with peers, finding a mentor, and consistently learning new skills will mean you do not have to worry about becoming irrelevant or antiquated.
So, what do you do the next time a workshop is offered? You book your place, your flight or train, hotel room, rental car (if required) and set a course for an improved career field. Take every opportunity to learn more, network with peers and tutors, and have a great time!
Thank you for reading!
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