Why I Love Conferences and How to Milk It For All It’s Worth!

MichaelBeliefs, Challenge, Education, Misc, Personal Development23 Comments

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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

company-975971_1280The 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!

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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

checklist-1614702_640Once 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
  • Laptop
  • Phone & charger or extra battery pack
  • Business cards
  • Credit card/Misc Cash
  • Water
Network!

meeting-1184892_640There 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

penguin-159784_640It’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.

POST CONFERENCE
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)

meeting-1020146_640It’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. 🙂

 

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Michael

Hi, I have been blessed to take an early retirement in my mid-30's so I can focus on becoming a better father, blogger, and investor.

My goal is to help you find your personal path to financial freedom, and to enjoy the entire journey.

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23 Comments on “Why I Love Conferences and How to Milk It For All It’s Worth!”

  1. These are great tips that I’ll have to use for FinCon. Just got my business cards ordered and they’re estimated to arrive Wednesday! If I didn’t work that day, I would have loved to attend the new attendee orientation. This will be my first non-engineering conference that I’ll go to. Those engineering conferences were usually a snooze fest and I never had a game plan, but FinCon will be different. I’ll have to come up with specific outcomes like you did or even borrow some of yours 🙂 Good stuff Michael and looking forward to meeting you!

    1. Yes, I’m looking forward to meeting you in person OB! Also, in case you didn’t see it, there’s a new attendee orientation on video in the FinCon FB Group. See you soon.

  2. Must admit Mike, haven’t particularly planned out a whole heap of conferences although I’d love to see a FinCon here down under or even go to one in the states! 🙂

    Nice write up here about getting specific on what you want to achieve from it and would love to hear your review about FINCON

    Cheers man!

  3. I’ll be at FinCon this year as well, and looking forward to it. For me, this is both a networking conference and a vacation, so I’m going to enjoy the speaker events, meeting lots of new friends, and getting a tan!

    I’m usually an ubernerd when it comes to conferences, attending every session and taking copious notes. I’m striving to be a little more chill at this conference.

    1. Nice, I like the vacation approach, Pia!

      There’s nothing wrong with taking copious notes. It’ll help you absorb information better. There should be lots of time to be both a nerd and chill. 😉

  4. Enjoy the conference, Michael. You’re smart to set goals before showing up. Should be a great time. Hope to see you there the following year!

    -PoF

  5. These are great tips. I’m going to miss this year’s FinCon but hoping to attend next year. I’m, however, attending CPFC (Canadian version of FinCon I suppose). Will need to take these tips in mind for CPFC.

  6. Business cards! Oh man I’m screwed …

    I’m looking forward to connecting and have similar goals as you for FinCon. I think this could be a turning point for Rental Mindset.

    1. Yes, I think so Brian! I’m looking forward to our meet up and to get your perspective on where your specific rental markets are headed.

  7. These are great tips for attending any conference, not just FinCon. I usually never plan my things out in advance when attending conferences and I think that backfires me because I feel so overwhelmed during the conference. Preparation is key.

    Have boatloads of fun at the conference! 🙂

    1. Thanks, FS. Yes, a little preparation goes a long way towards not feeling overwhelmed at a conference! Hopefully we’ll see you here one year. 🙂

  8. Enjoyed reading through your tips Michael. I haven’t been to a conference other than for work – but the things you suggested are great ones – you could also bring food! I tend to take notes on my phone these days – I find it quicker, easier to read and easier to share.

    I hope you have a GREAT time at FinCon. Maybe one day we”ll go there, or at least go to an Aussie one.

    Tristan

    1. Thanks, Tristan! Food is another great tip. A lot of people need something to hold them over until a planned meal. You definitely need a lot of energy if you want to make the most out of the sessions.

      That’s pretty cool you can take notes with your phone! I haven’t gotten quite there yet, but sometimes I’ll record little bits and pieces to re-listen to later.

  9. I must say a very informative post, this post really answered most of my queries regarding conferences. I was actually skeptic about conferences as I’m an introvert and not a people person but I want to be an entrepreneur in networking, this article helped me up to a certain extent in deciding how to prepare for conferences so far. Really useful article for many entrepreneurs who are having the dilemma about these meets and conferences.

    I expect much more posts like this in future, have a good day!

    1. Rajkumar, I’m glad to hear this article helped change your ideas about conferences. I’m actually here right now!

      It’s been a great time meeting new people. Tons of introverts here at a bloggers conference, but everyone is really nice. I’m doing my best to just go up and meet people, but people will just come up to me as well.

      Just remember, some of the most uncomfortable situations lead to the best rewards. 🙂

  10. Great points.

    I think you forgot to mention cough drops. I noticed that a lot of people started losing their voices.

    What other sorts of conferences are you going to that you find useful to furthering your business/goals?

    1. Aww man, I totally need to add cough drops to the list!

      I don’t have anything else lined up for the rest of the year yet, but will certainly be queuing up some for 2017!

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