As an entrepreneur, you are likely to spend a fair bit of time hunkered down behind your computer screen, tapping away as you work on mastering another piece of the online world to help you reach your goals.
I love the flexibility of working this way, so different from when I had to battle the morning traffic to and from my corporate role in life BC (that’s “before Cameron and Charlotte”, my two kids!).
I love how we can be connected to people all around the globe through our keyboards. I have met some of my very best Belief Buddies through the magic of Facebook Groups. I‘ve taken some fabulous e-courses from people in all corners of the globe. I’ve worked with amazing Mentors on Skype who have helped me to expand personally and professionally and I’ve helped my own lovely clients with their business growth in the US, France, New Zealand and all across Australia thanks to ZOOM.
It’s an exciting time to be a Next Chapter Entrepreneur.
But online alone just isn’t enough for me.
I absolutely need the connection, the inspiration, the “leap out of your comfort zone” experiences, the exposure to new ideas, the opportunity to meet and mingle with like-minded people.
That’s why I commit to attending live events every year and in this post I’m sharing experiences and tips from my own adventures and from a number of my fellow entrepreneurs to help you make the most of the events, conferences and seminars you attend this year.
Or perhaps even to inspire you to go to some if they’re not a part of your plan yet!
I love live events! I put them in my diary and actually attend them – online it’s too easy to have something come up. Listening to recordings is good (when I can) but not as good as being there live. At a live event you are right in the energy of it, the atmosphere, part of it and part of creating it. You learn from everyone else who’s there too. I much prefer a live event to online!
The 5 biggest benefits of attending business events
1. New Ideas and approaches for your business
I believe that if I can leave an event or conference with just one or two new ideas then it was worthwhile. The reality, however, is that I rarely walk away with just one or two! When I’m listening to a speaker sharing fresh ideas my brain seems to spark into new life – I rarely have the same level of understanding or excitement whilst reading a blog post or downloading a PDF online (although I do love reading!).
New ideas aside, its important to also remember that if you hear something that doesn’t at first glance, appear to be relevant for you, try and let go of that thought. Instead of thinking “that doesn’t apply to me, ask yourself, how could that apply to me? When you listen with a beginners mind, with curiosity, you can often connect seemingly old concepts with new possibilities.
I’m also a BIG fan of using coloured texters and an sketch pad for taking notes rather than just paper and pen. There is something about the colours and circles and highlights and squiggles that help me retain what I’ve heard so much more easily. An article by Kevin Purdy @ Fast Company confirmed for me that I was onto something there. Apparently when you “Add a dash of colour … and all of a sudden the notes come alive. They are unique, they are unusual, they are memorable and they are more interesting.” That means those notes will stick in your brain more, and be far more easier to find in your notebook and review later on”.
Try it yourself at the next event you attend – I’m sure you’ll find it makes a big difference!Live Events Tip #1: Always have an open mind and heart for fresh new ideas, or to consider old ideas from a new angle. Click To Tweet
2. Networking Opportunities that can really take flight
There are no better places to connect with like-minded people than at events. A whole room of people all in the same place at the same time, often with very similar goals to reach and experiences to share? Gold! I have met and stayed in touch with many people from around the world at events I’ve attended. The networking opportunities have also opened doors for new business and promotional opportunities.
In 2014 I traveled to “Be the Change” in Las Vegas, hosted by the effervescent Suzanne Evans with two of my “Belief Buddies”, Samantha Leith and Maria Davis. When I returned to Australia I was full of fresh ideas and plucked up the courage to contact Suzanne and ask if she would be open to being interviewed for my upcoming Wholehearted Success Telesummit (the first one I’d ever done). I carefully crafted an email that highlighted the fact I was one of the only three Australians in the audience of her recent event and talked about how much I’d love to introduce her to more Australians.
She said yes! And that Telesummit introduced more than 1000 new women into my community and mailing list.
By the way, it really was a fabulous interview and you can listen to it right here.
After Las Vegas we travelled to San Diego and attended “Speak and Write to Make Millions”, a Lisa Nichols Motivating the Masses event. I met Christy Whitman and Christine Kloser at Networking drinks and, yep, I followed up these lovely ladies too, both of whom have enormously successful businesses, and they also agreed to be interviewed for my Summit.Live Events Tip #2: Always invest time and energy in networking at events and considering new ways to leverage a win:win for the connections you've made. Click To Tweet
3. The upward spiral of investing in yourself
It’s not always easy to invest your time and the money in attending live events. I have 2 kids still at school, a husband with two businesses and my extended family are all in other countries. It can definitely be a challenge to organise everything that needs to be organised to get to a local event, let alone interstate or overseas!
But when I’ve tackled the juggle and got away, I’ve noticed that the benefits of attending a live event, conference or seminar go way beyond the actual event. I think it’s got a lot to do with investing in yourself. When you do, it means that you are valuing yourself. Recognising and honouring yourself and your goals and dreams. That boosts your self-belief. And when you believe in yourself more, you create more results in your business because you take more action. And when you take more action you get more results and that boosts your self-belief again and so you…
It’s the circle domino effect. And it’s powerful.
Let’s also be a little flat out honest here. We are often quick to invest in the things that we feel will benefit our kids. We are often quick to support the goals and business and career goals of our partners (my husband is flying to Dusseldorf in two days to attend a Boat Show). But we are often a little slower to put ourselves up the Priority Totem Pole.Live Events Tip #3: Invest in yourself. You are the most valuable business asset you have. Click To Tweet
A colleague of mine, Helena Denley from WP Website Coach knows first hand the value of investing in attending live events.
What can I say – I’m a conference junkie – I’ve been attending courses and conferences for over 20 years now, but it was only in 2012 when I attended my first international conference (Marie Forleo’s RHH Live in New York) that I saw the value was hooked.
Since that first taste of overseas conferencing, I’ve now spoken at two WordCamp conferences in Chicago (2013) and Minneapolis (2014) and attended conferences in Portland Oregon (2013), Denver Colorado (2014 & 2015) and Phoenix Arizona (2013 & 2015) plus conferences in Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Helena (2nd from right), with Hunter Boyle and Candice DeVille at Authority Intensive Conference
in Denver Colorado May 2015
I know many people think I’m crazy travelling so far and spending money on international flights and accommodation just to attend a 2 or 3 day conference, but I think it’s completely worthwhile.
I’m going to confess, I prefer attending overseas conferences because as an Aussie travelling to the US, my accent stands out and being a little introverted, it makes meeting people so much easier because I have an inbuilt icebreaker to the conversation (here in Australia, I’m just one of the hundreds of Aussies attending the conference and it makes standing out a little harder).
I’ve received 2 big benefits from the conferences I’ve attended:
- Meeting the big players in the industry I’m in. In Australia, being so far away from the rest of the world, with an infinitely smaller population, travelling to conferences has allowed me to meet the people who create the products I use on a daily basis in my business. They are down to earth, friendly and very approachable (& perhaps I fan-girled just a little 😉 ) and now I have influential contacts that I can approach for advice, mentoring and in the future, possibly joint venture opportunities. It also helps me to see that these successful people aren’t too much different to me – just further ahead in their journey – it’s very inspiring and encouraging.
- Getting outside my comfort zone. As a solopreneur/stay at home Mum and an introvert, I don’t get out much (and most days I prefer it that way). The downside is that my challenges can sometimes seem all-encompassing and insurmountable. By travelling to conferences, I get to experience a different world to my own, I get to meet peers that I’ve only previously interacted with online, I get to learn new skills from the actual conference itself and I get to see what I’m doing in a broader context and suddenly my challenges seem to slip away and my confidence increases exponentially.
Here are my tips for attending conferences to get the most out of them:
- Travel alone if you can – taking a friend means you have a fallback and you won’t step out of your comfort zone.
- If possible, research speakers and participants before you go – follow them on Twitter, join the conference Facebook group if there is one and find some participants you can connect with in advance so you can catch up with them at the conference and get introduced to their contacts.
- Don’t feel like you have to speak to everyone – I meet 2-3 new people at each conference I go to and catch up with as many people as I can that I already know from meeting them online or from previous conferences I’ve attended.
- And for the learning aspect – set a goal in advance for what you’d like to take a way from the conference. But I think attending all sessions can lead to a bit of information overload, so plan your session attendance and be flexible. In reality – for me, the best part of the conferences has been the people I’ve met and the connections I’ve made.
4. The opportunity to find great Mentors (even unexpectedly)
In 2013 I travelled to Awesomenessfest in Bali and that’s where I met Lisa Nichols. I was gobsmacked by the stage presence of this remarkable woman. She was completely mesmerising and a few days later I found myself enrolled in her Powerhouse Speakers Training.
I had ever even heard of Lisa before I went to Bali. And then she “had me at hello” and I have learned an enormous amount and grown significantly as a presenter as a result since.
It’s no coincidence that I have made proactive and powerful decisions to work with Mentors I have met at events. It has often seemed to me, when I look back, that each time I have needed to step up and learn a new skill or expand my mindset, the right person just happens to show up. No coincidences. Just divine timing it seems to me.
When I was in Las Vegas I also, completely by accident, met the Business Coach I needed to work with. I hadn’t heard of her before either! And I would not have made the great leaps and bounds forward in my business that I needed too if I hadn’t gone faaaaaaar out of my normal comfort zone and attended that event.
Convenient? No way. Life changing? Absolutely. Two years later we are now accountability buddies for each other. That’s something I never could have imagined.
I really do believe these days that if you are drawn to an event, go. There’s likely something waiting for you there that you need…Live Events Tip #4: You just might discover your next Mentor at a live event and that could change you and your business forever Click To Tweet
Sam, one of my event buddies from Samantha Leith has this to share about attending events.
That’s Sam in the photo below enjoying a cupcake with Maria and me in Las Vegas.
What’s not to love?
A vibe like no other.
Like minded people.
Not to mention the information overload if it’s a really good event.
You may think that sounds negative, but it’s really not.
Events mean the world to me.
I even love trade fairs.
Honestly, when you have your own biz, to get out and be surrounded by people walking your walk is imperative. We may all be connected online, but I think we are actually all getting more and more isolated.
I’ve been going to events for years.
Some of them were worth the $49 and others weren’t worth the $3,999 – to me. Probably because I bought the tickets without really thinking if it was for me.
People have asked me ‘why do you go to so many, surely you know it all now’? Bingo. No way. My response has usually been ‘well, if I go to enough, one day I will hear that one amazing thing and the penny with drop’.
You see repetition is everything.
I travel to the other side of the world, and around the corner for events – and if I can, I’ll help out as volunteer crew too (you learn so much from the back of the room).
Hints for events:-
- Dress well
- Take lots of notes
- Sleep (don’t party) at night
- Eat well (and take snacks)
- Network (so don’t forget your business cards)
- Take photos with important people (I always thought this was dumb and now regret the missed opportunities)
- Ask questions if given the chance
- Shine Shine Shine
You get high on events. A natural high. The comedown can be bad, so take care.
Read your notes, re-write them or type them up so you can understand your scrawling.
Go to bed after a good relax (bath, meditation, book).
Don’t start becoming evangelical about the event/people. Most friends or colleagues don’t appreciate this, they start to think you’re in a cult.
Follow up. Networking is SO powerful at events, but most people never ever connect again.
5. Make time for fun and adventure!
This one is too easy to overlook. Yes you’ll learn a load of new ideas, you’ll master some new skills, you’ll meet some amazing new people who can open doors and turn into wonderful friends and yes, you may even meet a Mentor who can help you to catapult your business into a whole new level, but let’s not forget all the fun there is to be had!
I’ve been to Darwin, Perth, Hobart, Broome, Auckland, Bali, Vanuatu, Las Vegas, San Diego, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and all over Sydney to attend live events. I host them, spoken at them and participated in them and had a ball every time. I’m one of those extroverted introverts, an ENFP who loves people, but also needs recharge time and so I make sure I give myself room to balance both sides of me when I travel to events.
But I also give myself absolute permission to have FUN! To try something new. To laugh and dance and shake off responsibility for a few hours, or a few days. To be totally, shamelessly self-indulgent and self-FUL. We deserve it!
And to pause and be really present and appreciate these moments. To relish being a Next Chapter Entrepreneur today when so many opportunities are available to us.Live events tip #5: Don't forget to have fun - you deserve it. Click To Tweet
What other tips can I share to maximise your time spent at a Live Event?
There are a few more.
- Don’t forget your business cards! It’s really handy to have a card with your photo on it – that makes it very easy for people to remember you, a definite advantage when you’re meeting loads of people. I discovered Your event lanyard is a great place to store your cards and those of people you meet.
- Carry a small notebook and take a few moments to scribble down a few notes about the people you meet. Don’t trust your memory, especially at a multi-day event – your brain will be full and it’s easy to forget what you were so sure you would remember about someone.
- Put away your phone. Or at least switch off your emails. Be present in mind and body, it really does make a difference and is also respectful to both the presenters and your fellow attendees. You can always tweet in the breaks 🙂
- Have a Captivating Statement to share when someone asks “so, what do you do?”. Don’t fret about this needing to be word perfect or STUNNING, but do take a few minutes to consider what you’ll say. I have a resource that I’m sure you’ll find handy for this that you can download right here and listen in to the Podcast Episode where I walk you through developing your own Captivating Statement here.
I also found a great post from Maria Elena Duron with an easy acronym to navigate you through conversations you have at events, if you;re feeling a little nervous about meeting new people. Maria suggests you ask questions by following the pattern of this acronym surrounding each letter as a focus for the question: FORMULA.
F = friends and family (i.e. Do you have any friends doing what you do?)
O = occupation and organisations (i.e. What do you do for a living?)
R = rest, relaxation and recreation (i.e. When you’re not working, what do you like to do?)
M = motivation (i.e. Why did you go into business?)
U = unique (i.e. What is it that makes you different from ABC company?)
L = loves (i.e. Golfers love the game. Collectors love their hobby. Ask about it and listen.)
A = associations (i.e. Are you member of the XYZ industry association? Where do you learn about all the latest industry news? Do you have a local chapter of XYZ?)
You can use this acronym to help you move a conversation along in a meaningful way!
Do you have tips or experiences to share that have helped you when you’ve attended a conference, seminar or live event? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
I love attending events and conferences, they tick my ‘sweet spot’ on so many levels. I was fortunate enough to be gifted a sabbatical in 2014 and during this time I attended 3 live events – Anthony Robbins Fire Walking in Sydney, Gabrielle Bernstein’s first Master class event and then a Hay House ‘I Can Do It’ l event, both in New York.
Why do I love them? I am committed to growing myself spiritually and personally and going to these events helps me to do this. I gain insights, knowledge and experience as well as being inspired by some wonderful speakers. I love the energy of a room full of like-minded people who all have the same thirst as myself. Community has always been important to me and an event is like a large community of people who want you to succeed, who want you to grow yourself and your business too.
I held some of my own live events last year and I would never have had the courage if I hadn’t experienced first hand the overall vibe of these events. I knew that as I started speaking I had an amazing energy field of people who had shared before me and then I was passing my story onto those who are behind me. An amazing feeling!
What events will you attend this year?
There are so many to choose from when you start to look around and your choices will depend upon what you need, what grabs you and how far you can and want to travel.
Be discerning and aware. What for you need? Inspiration? Skill Building? Adventure? Community? Are you looking for a conference, a retreat or just an evening out with likeminded women?
The most recent significant event I went to was Shine Lve in Kelowna, Canada last year and my post summarising my takeaways is here.