I love conferences!
Seriously, I may be weird, but I can’t get enough.
Why? I place a huge value on self-growth. You probably do too if you’re reading this.
Why I Love Conferences
The beauty of a conference is that it’s interactive. It allows you to learn from multiple modalities (i.e. visual, auditory, and even kinesthetic) which you can customize according to your natural learning style.
Conferences are great places to continue your education in an area you are exploring or trying to master. There is pretty much a conference for EVERYTHING!
It’s also the perfect venue to network with other like-minded individuals (introverts and extroverts alike!).
So, how do you make the most out of a conference?
I’ve been to well over 2 dozen conferences in my life, so I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that I’d love to share with you.
Case in point: Here’s my plan for my first ever blogger conference (FinCon) coming up this week here in San Diego.
Decide Your Outcomes Before You Go!
This is a critical first step. Knowing what you want out of a conference before you attend will give you a much-needed compass for when you’re there.
You see, most conferences are packed full of awesome content! And, of course, there is a ton of value within each of these sessions.
But, if you try to absorb EVERYTHING, it’s a plan for failure. Trust me, I’ve tried!!
It’s much more effective to focus and use one or two big takeaways to make a significant impact in your growth.
Here are some specific outcomes I will be focusing on:
- Identify members for new mastermind group(s)
- Investment property related
- Blog related
- Millionaire MM
- Identify 2 new strategies to increase my website traffic at least double in the next 6 months
- Identify 2 additional revenue generating sources I can implement now
Learn from Others Who Have Gone Before You
In my case, it’s pretty easy. This conference is smart enough to have an actual first-time attendee meeting before the conference begins.
This will be conducted by the conference founder and/or staff who are most familiar with the current and previous years’ agendas.
They’ll be able to give you guidance on how to maximize your time within the sessions and keynotes.
Plan in Advance
Once you know your outcome, you can start planning in advance for the conference.
- Review the Agenda in Advance
- Schedule Meetings with Vendors (potential partners) in Advance
- Sign up for Networking Meetings or Meetups
I’d suggest you don’t fill your schedule to the brim because a little flexibility can go a long way when dynamic situations come up.
Things To Bring
- Paper & pens
- Phone & charger or extra battery pack
- Business cards
- Credit card/Misc Cash
There are tons of opportunities to engage with others with very similar interests as you.
When networking, I believe it’s about making an honest connection with others. There’s no need to compare agendas. Rather, do you have a connection or rapport with someone?
Conferences are also a great time to try something new! Are you typically the introvert like me? Why not try to be the extrovert? At least for 20 minutes. You might just find that you like it and are able to meet some interesting people.
Most importantly, BE REAL and the rest will fall into place. It takes so much time and effort to pretend to be someone you’re not, so might as well be you! 😉
Finally, don’t forget to bring business cards. If you don’t have any, you can get some really cost-effective ones at VistaPrint. They occasionally run promos which bring the prices down super low. Once you’re ready for some professional looking ones, check out Moo.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Occasionally I get wrapped up in the content so much that I forget to have a little fun. Don’t!
Remember, the sponsors typically shell out a pretty penny to throw some fun parties and activities for you. Take advantage of them to let loose a bit. It’s also a great place to network as well.
I also believe part of having fun is finding a little excitement (even if it’s scary!).
Since most of you will be somewhere away from home, try something you wouldn’t normally do.
Don’t Forget to Sleep
It’s important to rest up throughout a conference. You’ll be exerting a lot of energy each day, so it’s important to rest.
Being well rested will allow you to absorb more content and maintain your focus.
The same goes for food & drink. Remember to keep hydrated throughout and eat some low-sugar snacks periodically.
Take Immediate Action
Once you leave a conference, chances are your head will be swirling with fantastic ideas and fond memories of new-found friends or associates!
I like to call it the adrenaline rush.
This great momentum you feel here isn’t going to last forever. So, you need to tap into it while you’re at the conference, or immediately thereafter.
It’s always easier to ride a wave pushing you forward, rather than to paddle to your desired outcome.
On a related note…
Follow up with New Contacts Immediately (within 48 hours)
It’s certainly exciting meeting new people with similar mindsets! So, you need to “strike when the iron is hot!”
That’s why I’d urge you to make contact within 48 hours or less. If you don’t, chances are it’s not gonna happen at all.
As a leader, you’ll want to step up and reach out to those you want to forge a mutually beneficial relationship with. Offer them something first and see where that takes you.
Again, be genuine, and friends will flock. 🙂
Readers, what conferences do you have lined up already? Why do you hope to get out of it?
#FinCon16 attendees! Any tips for me? I’d love to connect and hear more about your story, blog, or ideas on how to create positive money experiences for others. Hope to see you there. 🙂