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The Value of a Conference

Content. Connections. Confidence. Clients. Clarity.

live eventI’ve started attending live events again.  I didn’t for a few years: since I wasn’t sure of the direction I wanted to go, it didn’t make sense to spend a lot of money to attend, let alone adding air fare and hotel and meals.

Since the first of this year, I’ve attended several. Some were better than others.  One was a complete waste of time for me, although I know of others who attended the same one and raved about it (believe me, I won’t be attending that one again next year!).

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Extreme Income Explosion Summit in Salt Lake City. I heard about this one from Michele Scism of Decisive Minds  (note: that’s my affiliate link), as I recently completed her Take Actions Get Profits Mastery program (note: another affiliate link).

She was one of the event hosts.  The other host was Buzz Booster, a Small Business Marketing Advice, Relationship Management & Social Media Marketing Agency run by Shahar and Nashlah Boyayan.

Wow. What. A. Weekend!

Amazing, engaging, approachable speakers. Outstanding, in-depth content. “No fluff,” as Shahar kept repeating. And she was right.

We had sessions on legal issues for small business owners, how to use speaking to build your business, mind mapping, mindset, online marketing especially with video, social media, thinking bigger, attracting your niche, public relations, and direct response marketing. I took something like 40 pages of notes. It was incredible.

Given that the last conference I attended before this one was such a bust for me (and cost a lot more, too!) I was tremendously pleased with this one.

And it made me think about the reasons I attend live events, and what I get out of them.

Content. Connections. Confidence. Clients. Clarity.

Content.

That one’s pretty self-explanatory. I love it when it’s there, and really resent when it isn’t. Some conferences, some events, are meant to be more motivational than technical, but I still want to walk away having learned something. If I don’t get at least one AHA moment, one realization, one new something learned or old something remembered and re-evaluated, out of each session, I feel as if I’ve wasted my time.

Connections.

I work at home, and I usually work alone.  There are some days when I don’t see anyone but my husband before he goes to work or when he gets home. I’m quite comfortable being alone for long stretches (which is good, because he travels some) – but I do like interacting and connecting with people.  That’s one reason why I do a lot of local networking: nothing beats face-to-face contact for getting to know people. Yes, you can get to know people through online connecting such as social media, but at least for me those connections are not as deep or as lasting as the ones I make in person.

So when I go to a conference and I find I have to struggle to connect with anyone, when I end up eating meals alone because the folks I’ve approached have been so wrapped up in their own stuff – or the friends they came with – to be open to sharing a meal or a drink with another attendee, I feel cheated. Although it probably doesn’t look like it from the outside, I really am an introvert.  It’s hard for me to walk into a room where I don’t know anyone and ask my seatmate to have lunch after the session. When that happens, as it did repeatedly at the one waste-of-time conference, it’s tough not to take it as a personal rejection.

Then there are the events where solid connections are the norm. I sit in sessions surrounded by like-minded people, I have meaningful conversations that continue after the sessions to meals and drinks in the pub, and I head home from the conference knowing that I’ve got a collection of people with whom I know I’ll stay in touch. Priceless.

Confidence.

Win Day at eWomenNetwork event Calgary ABWorking on that. Knowing that I want to start speaking more in my business, at my own events or on other people’s stages, I’m quite happy to stand up and give a testimonial from the floor, or do one on camera. The more comfortable I can become in front of an audience, the better speaker I’ll be.

And the more I can make those connections easily and comfortably, the more confident I am about taking the first step in approaching people – other attendees and the conference presenters – next time.

Clients.

Sometimes those connections become so solid, so fast, that a real business relationship forms.  I have left an event where I had the opportunity to either speak briefly, or in one instance do some laser coaching in a coaching round-robin, with a client or two.  What a great opportunity!  I know in advance we’re on the same wavelength, because we’re attending the same event. They get to see me in action, however briefly. We have a discussion and decide to move forward, either with a strategy session or some coaching. Yay!  Getting new clients isn’t my primary purpose in attending events, but it sure is a nice bonus.

Clarity.

This one is probably the most important. I do have a business coach (Rosemary Bredeson, the Scientific Mystic http://www.rosemarybredeson.com/ – hi, Rosemary!), and we work together on all sorts of issues both professional and personal to move me forward.

But getting other opinions, other viewpoints, is invaluable. Clarity is related to content, but it’s really the application of content.  Content is great, but if I don’t know what to do with it or how I can use it, it’s not worth much. I always try to tack a travel day on after the event so I have some time to decompress and journal about the experience. It’s during that downtime that the clarity comes.

I also know myself well enough to know that my tendency is to play small.  Attending conference with visionaries helps me step outside myself and my limiting, limited vision to see bigger possibilities. And I get the clarity to see how to adapt those possibilities to my own business and my own life.

Content. Connections. Confidence. Clients. Clarity.

That’s why I attend live events.

Do you attend live events or conferences?  Which ones?  What impact do they have on your business or your life?

Comments

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  1. Too true! I come home (from the good ones, anyway) absolutely energized and completely exhausted. And grateful that there ARE other like-minded individuals with whom I’ve connected. It’s always reassuring to reaffirm that I’m in business FOR myself but not BY myself.

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