My name is Lenise Williams and I am an addict. Yes, I am an addict. I am officially addicted to business conferences! I absolutely LOVE them; I can’t get enough I had the pleasure of presenting at the Moms as Entrepreneurs Conference at Morgan State University in Baltimore last weekend. I got back in town and the following day attended the Atlanta Business League Super Tuesday Conference. Both conferences had break- out sessions in which an expert in a particular area spoke. Here are a few reasons why my addiction is strong and how you can get the MOST out of conferences
1. I love to learn
I was able to walk way with little nuggets from each break out session. At the conference in Baltimore I was invited as a speaker; however I see it more as an opportunity to travel and get access to great information from other speakers without having to buy a ticket! HA! Before and after I speak I am typically the person in the front row with my pen and paper ready! Although I am a business consultant and I eat, sleep and dream business and entrepreneurship I never feel as if I know everything. Hearing different perspectives, different techniques and strategies is a method to learn a new style or it confirms that your way works best for you. Regardless of how much an individual may feel that they know; it is always advantageous to be a student.
2. The networking/netweaving is better than the food
Well the food was pretty darn amazing at both conferences, but if I had to pick networking/netweaving (see this posting for explanation of netweaving) over the yummy grilled chicken or the delicious grilled salmon I ate, I’d definitely forego the food! Most times I eat before I go to events. I eat so that I allow myself more time to talk to others. If I am so busy stuffing my mouth with food it makes it very difficult to connect with others. It is so very important to take advantage of so many like-minded people being in the same space. It is the best time to chat with some you may have been wanting to meet or an opportunity to reconnect with others.
I like to look at the list of speakers before the event and decide which sessions I will attend before I even purchase my ticket. If someone that I have been wanting to connect with is speaking I make sure to attend that session and sit front and center! Front and center is the easiest path to enable you to speak with them after their session concludes. I already know what questions I want to ask, I already know what I want to tell them. I don’t like wasting anyone’s time for I don’t like for anyone to waste mine. If you do not go to a conference to open up and meet prospective clients, prospective joint venture partners or marketing partners, you should save your money and just attend a virtual seminar. MAXIMIZE the value of that ticket you purchased!
3. I Run Out of Content Ideas
As a person that likes to provide great blogs, webinars, etc I sometimes run out of good stuff to write/talk about! That has no measure on how much I really know. That just lets me know that I need to get out and learn more about what people want. Many times the conference organizers research what the hot topics are; they know what the people want to know about. I will be honest, I often have so many trademarks to register and so many deadlines to meet that I honestly go brain dead when it is time for me to give you all great content. The organizers eliminate the hard work associated with research. Why reinvent the wheel, right?! Seminar titles, tips that the speakers share or even just a quote that they recite triggers my brain and gives me an idea for something amazing to provide to my readers/listeners. That is why my pen and paper or sometimes even my iPhone notepad is a MUST! I jot my ideas and refer to them later. Ha… now you know my secret for maintaining good content 😉
4. I just need to get out (sad, i know…lol)
I spend a lot of time behind my computer drafting documents, emailing and assisting my clients. The other part of my day is spent on the phone. When I imagined my life as an entrepreneur I imagined a bit more excitement! Yes, it gets lonely sometimes. I learned a few years back that it is important to make an effort to be around people other than your clients and your team. It is great to get out and socialize with an entire conference room of people that actually are like me and like to talk about business. I am so “business obsessed” that I even like to talk about it when I am not even paid to do so. It is exciting to be in a room full of people that are just as eager to talk about the same things for which I have an interest… I am a bit of a nerd lol
I encourage you to invest in yourself and attend as many Conferences as possible. It is said that many deals happen on the golf course. However I can say the same for the deals made at conferences. Maximize your experience! That way even if the conference provides poor content you won’t feel regret! As for myself, I do not plan to rehabilitate myself from my addiction. I have 2 more events on my October calendar!