I had a wonderful time at Michael Port’s Heroic Public Speaking event. There was a lot of value offered for those who attended. As a speaker, I loved sharing what I knew with the folks who were there. But I also operated as an attendee, listening and absorbing, and also getting what I could out of meeting and talking with other attendees. I had a secret opportunity: almost a dozen people there were friends as well as attendees. So I got a LOT out of my time there. But it made me think.
Are you getting the most out of your conferences?
There are some great ways to improve your conference experience, and I want to give you them right now.
- Set your agenda. Once you know what is going to happen at the event, decide what YOU need to take back from this event for it to be a success.
- Do your homework. Figure out who’s attending. Is there an event hashtag? Go to http://search.twitter.com and see who’s talking about the event.
- Do your homework, part deux. Learn about the hotel, the surrounding restaurants and shops. What do you need to make your experience the best? Where can you take a few people for a quiet lunch away from the event?
- Connect early. If you’ve come alone or with just one other person, find others and make a small group. It’s okay if you’re shy.
- Bring a question and a solution. If you’re working on something, ask others about it where it makes sense. If you’ve got some skills, ask others about what they’re working on and see if you can help.
- A.B.C. Always Be Connecting. While talking with people, think to yourself, “Who do I know who could help this person advance?” Ask the person if an introduction to XYZ person would be useful. Then email that person you’re thinking about and ask if it’s okay to make an introduction to your new friend. Connect. Repeat.
- Follow-on. If the event is coming to a close, make sure to be able to reach out to the people you’d like to connect with further. Maybe find them on LinkedIn or Facebook, as well.
- Review your notes within the first three days after the event. We ALL think we’ll remember our notes forever. We won’t. I’ve written things like “Three pigs in a tree” as if that meant something important, only to have no clue what it meant a week later.
- Accept that you can’t do everything at the event and get some rest where it makes sense. Lots of people attend conferences like it’s a marathon. Rest. It’s okay. Just don’t miss the BEST opportunities to connect, if you can. The best stuff happens at the weird events.
I’m sure there’s more going on. Maybe share some ideas on Twitter. I’m @chrisbrogan there. We could all search for the hashtag “#getmore” . Sound good? Ready? Go!