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Why you should attend professional events

Tuukka Virtanen
October 18, 2023

If you want to grow as a professional, what is the best thing you can do?
No, it’s not updating your AI prompting skills (even if that’s going to be useful).

The biggest thing you can do, is to surround yourself with smart people in your profession. And what is the easiest way to do that? Meet them! Talk to them! Share with them!

That means going to professional events hosted by active community members. I’m talking about afterwork events that go beyond company and organization lines: Meetups between domain professionals to congregate and share their ideas, things like testing meetups. You get to know what your peers are like and what’s going on under the surface. This is the place where tacit knowledge hides.

Maybe it’s the cold Finnish winter, but socializing doesn’t come easy for many of us. People can be reserved and introverted in social events. But I think this applies to everyone. Anyone can be afraid to approach new people for the first time. But I have a trick. And I’ll tell it to you soon. Keep reading.

So, what to do? Look up where your local meetups happen and check when and where the next one is.
If there’s a sign up requirement, sign up. Make a promise to yourself that you will attend one event, just one.
It’s just one event, maybe one or two hours of your time and you can decide to leave at any point.
And now you’ve already promised to do that. And when the time comes, be there. Then the hard part is already over.
The old saying “showing up is half the work” really works in this case.

Now here’s the trick. You are a professional; you know the domain, so take the role of a professional.
What I mean is that, if you feel anxious approaching new people, think about it first as a professional data exchange
between two peers
. Start with a topic related to your domain, maybe talk about the latest piece of technology just released. From their answers, listen and give your own thoughts. Be thoughtful and remember to thank people for their time and insights. That’s it, nothing less or more.

Remember why we have two ears and only one mouth. That should be the ratio for listening to speaking. Listen twice as much as you speak. And you’ll probably walk away from your meetup with a couple of new ideas and colleagues.

About the author

Consultant | Finland
Test automation consultant with technical experience in test automation and quality assurance. TMap Next certified Test Engineer with knowledge in test planning and execution and test design techniques. Master of Science in Information Management. Indie game development as a side project. Creative and visual thinker.


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