As a conference and event planner, I love attending events because a) I love connecting in-person with amazing creatives and b) I like to do market research on how attendees interact with content provided in event format.
(Which I realize is a little like a yoga teacher attending another yoga teacher's class or a wedding planner when she becomes a bride and works with her own wedding planner, but I digress.)
Off the Charts LIVE was such a great experience, but I wanted to make sure I passed on the info that I learned about here are my top 5 takeaways from going to a big conference.
1. Stay at the hotel.
Just do it. Pay the money, put it on your credit card, get 6 roommates, sleep in the lobby. Whatever. If you're flying across the country (or even just driving across the state) the amount of interaction that happens in and around a conference at a hotel is worth twice the times the cost of the conference itself.
2. Get your money's worth.
If they ask for questions at the mic, GO ASK A QUESTION. I spent the entire first day hemming and hawing and not wanting to get up to the mic and introduce myself in front of a group of women, and then I did and after I told everyone what I did...I got SO many requests for meetings, interviews, collaborations, and friendship!
Bottom line: ain't nobody gunna hustle for you. Get out there.
3. Make sure YOUR PEOPLE are going to be there.
Ain't nothing worse than going to a conference where you realize you have nothing in common with the attendees. While speakers are important, don't go to a conference if you don't want to meet the attendees. 99% of the time, that's going to be the REAL value of conference attendance in terms of immediate boosts for your business.
4. Have something to sell.
Repeat after me: I'm (your name here)! I'm a small business owner that does X and I work with people in Y way. Let's connect after the conference and see how we can work together.
How many times did I have a conversation with someone and they were like "Oh, how can I work with you" and I was like "Oh, uhhh, I mean, maybe we can just keep hanging out and being friends."
No, ma'am. You are not running a charity. You need to put value on your products.
5. Follow up.
So here I'm going to call the kettle black because I have NOT done this, but when you get back from a conference, you'll be tempted to put all those business cards that you got in some obscure pile, never to be seen again.
Nope. No. Do not. Back the truck up, sister.
Follow up. Send an email to each business card saying hello. If you remember having a conversation with them, add in a way you can work with them. Maybe it means discounting a service if they book in the next 48 hours. Try it! What do you have to lose?
What have you learned from attending an in-person event? Tell me in the comments below!