How to choose conferences and conventions

People being the social beings that we are, live video or holograms will not replace the value of being together in person. While the economy and travel security have changed the industry of conferences and events, organizers are still actively producing events. According to one source, “Meetings and events are responsible for 15 percent of all travel-related spending, create nearly $40 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local level and generate more than one million jobs.” [pcma]

The question that I get asked frequently is, “Which conference should I go to?” Some call me a “conference junkie” but that doesn’t mean every conference is the right fit for every person.

With hundreds and thousands of events to choose from, it’d be good to know what’s available before deciding on one. In the worlds of business, academia, government, non-profit, and other sectors and vocations, there’s these large online listings for conferences:

And in the world of church leaders, there’s these online listings:

// [update] you can also find webinars and teleseminars on listing/ directory sites like,,,, Virtual Events Calendar via allvirtual , WebinarBase via Eugenia //

Aside: there’s a whole network of conference and event planners, e.g. Meeting Professionals International, The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners ,,,

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17 Responses

  1. Jim Gray says:

    this is some good information for me as i was actually looking for this yesterday…perfect timing!

  2. Kyle Reed says:

    Totally agree Jim.
    There is really not a whole lot of places to find this kind of information. Thanks for doing this DJ.
    I am assuming that you will be at a lot of these conferences?
    Wish I was as well.

  3. djchuang says:

    Gasp! The post went live before I cleaned up the links… now it’s done. *wiping egg off face*

    Jim, Kyle: glad I can be of service to you, and the other non-commenting readers here 🙂

    Kyle, with these thousands of events, it’s not humanly possible to be at many of them! Though my fantasy world me would love to go…

  4. Thank you so much! I’ve been dying for this kind of info. It’s hard to judge a conference when you don’t have a complete picture of all your options.

  5. This post is a great resource. Thanks for putting it together. The links are a tremendous source of help.

    One thing that would also help is to know what you are trying to accomplish with your life (a master plan, if you will). Then, once a year, look at all the conferences that are out there and choose which ones to invest in based on where you are headed as a person.

    Just thinking outloud.

  6. Lon says:

    I enjoy the odd conference now and then, though it still shocks me how they’re still thriving when content is next to free online these days. I know people tend to say it’s for the community.. but i find most conferences tend not to really cultivate community with all the forward facing speaker time… maybe it’s just me.

    • djchuang says:

      @Scott, good thought– having a goal in mind is a great filter

      @Lon, the conference industry will do what the people want in a market-driven society; while people say they want community, that’s not what people are doing when they vote with their feet; community-centric events tend to max out at 250 imho

  7. Lon says:

    agreed dj. and good insight on the community event sizing…

  8. Ken says:

    The lists of conference are helpful, but how to you go about deciding which ones to attend? Obviously each of us will make our own choices, but I’d be interested in a discussion of the process that you go through in picking conferences.