On the 5th and 6th April the East Midlands Conference Centre will be hosting the Th!nkFM conference for 2011. Th!nkFM is the new name for the BIFM annual conference. A new name and a new venue – will the conference shed some new light on the complex world of Facilities Management?
The structure of the conference is different from those previously run. There will be four hubs, each providing a range of talks throughout the two days. Delegates can plan out their two days to make the most of a range of topics including environmental issues and sustainability, the use of new technology and the role of training within organsiations. BIFM state that the sessions will count towards your Continuing Professional Development and promise to be highly interactive and informative. There will also be the usual trade stands and a dinner on the Tuesday evening to allow for networking opportunities.
So, you need to ask yourself, will attendance at the conference be a useful investment of your time? Mike Doyle, in his article ‘How to Justify Conference Attendance’ suggests that the most important benefit is the opportunity to network with other profesionals but this is, by its very nature, very difficult to quantify. Of course, meeting others with similar issues to you and your organsiation may present you with the opportunity to identify new solutions you may not have thought about. But, you may need some concrete evidence to help you decide whether the conference is a worthwhile investment of your time and your organsiation’s money.
Doyle suggests that you approach this from several different angles. Ask yourself the following questions and once you have the answers undertake an ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ decision making process.
- What are the networking benefits?
- If I am sending a team, are there any team building opportunities
- Will attendance help me to to use the current tools I have more effectively?
- Will there be an opportunity to identify and explore the opportunities presented by new tools?
- Will attendance help me to to use the current technology I have more effectively?
- Will there be an opportunity to identify and explore the opportunities presented by new technologies?
- Will attendance help me to to use the current processes I have more effectively?
- Will there be an opportunity to identify and explore the opportunities presented by new processes?
- Having identified that I am interested in the new tools, technologies and processes, will the conference present me with an opportunity to meet Vendors with these aspects I am exploring?
Having considered these questions, you should be able to make the decision to attend or not to attend. We think it will be a useful investment of our time and will be on-hand to discuss the finer points of FM and, of course, facilities management training. We hope to see you there!