Live Conferences Still Trump Online. Here's How to Maximize Them.
Your schedule is busy. Event content is accessible via livestream, allowing on demand play and pause. You find large events difficult to navigate. You already have a huge network. There are a number of reasons we each may find for taking a pass on conferences and seminars. But, for entrepreneurs, let me explain why there is simply no excuse or better alternative than attending a conference in person:
- Live conferences can provide us with a dynamic physical energy that awakens our minds, bodies, and souls. It’s the difference between going to a group fitness class versus working out to a video at home alone. Development-driven events extract positive, motivational, inspiring energy from other people, and feeding off of that can be transformational.
- Live conferences connect you to your tribe! Sure, conferences are an opportunity to make “new contacts,” but they are also a chance to join a new community and connect with others who share similar values, ambitions, and challenges, and can therefore provide a vital support system. Why suffer the obstacles, setbacks, or celebrate the victories of entrepreneurship alone?
- Live conferences are a different way to learn and expand our consciousness, perspectives, and knowledge base on subjects that inform our career and life decisions. They are curated by organizers who work hard to provide us with a specific experience and expertise. See it as potential inspiration and education on steroids without having to read a load of books and articles.
Ready to conference-hop now?
When sorting through a roster of events, here are the three steps I recommend in choosing the ones that merit your time:
1. Determine Your Priorities.
You only have so much time and money to allocate, so determine your goals (e.g., Are you in need of some serious inspiration to spark new ideas or are you seeking people or companies with which to partner within a specific industry?) Knowing this will help you ascertain the kinds of events to register for ASAP.
2. Gauge the Content and Audience.
Prioritize the events that will have the speakers who you will benefit from hearing from and connecting with or an audience with whom you can create meaningful relationships to propel you forward.
3. Research the Host.
Choose events being hosted by people or organizations you really want to support, that you believe are authentic, who speak to you, and who build the kind of community of which you want to be a part.
Once you have decided to invest your time in an event, consider these suggestions to maximize your experience:
1. Meet the Right People.
Identify goals regarding who you want to meet and what you want to walk away with. Setting goals in advance will help your experience be more effective. Also, take advantage of the conference app for a preview of your fellow attendees. Often, event apps enable you to start networking with attendees even before the event.
2. Take Notes.
It may seem tedious to journal your day, but have your Evernote or favorite note-taking app ready to go. I have a category called “Conferences & Events” in my Evernote where I take notes about the people I meet and amazing nuggets/advice that I hear from panels and speeches. When I need inspiration, it’s invaluable and always accessible.
3. Plug into Social Media.
It’s easy to forget about promoting your brand when you’re overwhelmed by an event, but it’s important to leverage every event experience to collect and share content with your audience. So, be mindful of social media. I always aim to do two things: snap a few photos — selfies with amazing women or beautiful visuals — and post using the event hashtag. Take advantage of the opportunity to participate in a much larger conversation.
Absorb these tips, register for a conference, and see you at an event!