Being committed to personal and professional development is critical to your success.
“In this world you are either growing, or dying…so get busy and get growing.” Lou Holtz
I think Coach would lend me some latitude and allow this, “in this world you are either learning or dying….”
Whether you are attending a networking event, a half or full day workshop, or traveling to a different city for an industry conference; budgeting time and dollars for your development will sustain you and open doors on your path to success.
I travel at least 3 times/year to conferences as a participant. Events where I get to BE….you know…the kind of event where you learn more about your industry, your craft or developing skills to grow your business?
If you are someone who doesn’t do this often, or perhaps it’s your first time here are the top 3 things I’ve learned about getting ready to go, and once I get there:
You’re not sure why you registered. That’s totally ok, I get it and can assure you, you are not alone. Sometimes you feel called, or pulled to go – and so you just say “yes” – and have faith that you will find your why on the way.
You will….AND…part of that will happen with spending some time being reflective about where you are personally or professionally. Take an inventory – what’s working…what’s not….and determine 2 or 3 things you want to focus on. Remember what you want to focus on doesn’t have to just be about things that are broken. You may be looking to up level some aspect, and the event you are attending could give you that opportunity.
Once you figure this out…you know your “why” – knowing your why allows you to do pre-event recon. From evaluating speakers and breakout sessions to vendors and other attendees, you can maximize your entire experience by knowing your why. Visit the website of the event, read up on the speaker(s), determine if there will be vendors you might need to connect with, and sometimes, you can even see a list of attendees by company. Gathering this kind of intel, allows you to be intentional with how you plan your experience.
Yes…I know there are some of you reading this saying, “yeah…and I like to just wing it…and let the right people and events appear.” Ok, I hear you…..I also believe that God and the Universe have presented this event and these people to you on your journey – give a nod to forces greater than yourself and become curious about what is being presented to you on your journey.
Arrive early. Nothing is worse than getting stuck in traffic, not knowing where you are going, having broken elevators and missing the opening of something you’ve planned for. I always plan to arrive 30 minutes before an event begins. Even if you sit in your car, wait in the lobby, or catch up on email or make a new friend in the coffee shop, the reduced anxiety and additional gift of presence you give yourself is invaluable. Now you can settle in be completely engaged and ready to receive what you need.
Always bring a notebook/notepad, a couple of great pens and plenty of business cards…you never know who you might meet who has been desperately searching for the products and services you provide.
Wondering how to stay organized at and after your event and how to deepen relationships you make to ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table? Come back tomorrow for part 2 of Maximizing Your Conference and Event Experience.
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