Good evening. Good night. It’s very late. I’m sorry I’m so late tonight. I’ve been crewing at an event today, as it was last night, a multi-speaker event, awesome event. I am absolutely shattered, and what has triggered my post tonight is actually observation about my many years of attending seminars, and conferences, and things, and also seeing people today, what they were doing, what I took out of today. So, I wanted to give you some tips on how to make the most out of a conference, or seminar situation. Now, this could be a small, like a local kind of conference. It could be something you’ve traveled onto the other side of the world to go to. You could actually use all of these for like a trade fair, where there’s also a conference aspect to it. You know how sometimes they have speakers rooms and things like that? So yeah, I’m going to talk about that.
My first point about this kind of thing is pay to go. When you go to one of these things, because you’ve been given a ticket, or someone’s just dragged you along, and license your job. Like if you work for an online shoe company and the entire team is going to the online conference where your businesses, or your bosses paid for it. Yeah, you might not have actually paid for it, but it’s part of your job, but if it’s something you want to go to, pay for it. Pay for it or have gotten yourself there somehow. Like perhaps some skin in the game for actually being there and so you don’t just go, “I can’t be bothered. It’s raining, I’m tired.” Any of that kind of thing. You’ve got to get there to get the most out of it.
Sleep the night before. Do not ever go into any of these things, whether you’re at a trade fair in Hong Kong, or China, where you’ve got to walk up and down what feels like kilometers of isles, or it’s a small event with a hundred people. You want to be awake, and alert, and otherwise there’s no point. So, sleep the night before. If it’s something you’re going to that’s got long days, stay close, like get a hotel close, because quite often when you go to a conference, or a seminar, and you drive home, and you get back into the loop of your life, you kind of lost all the magic of the day, and these things are magic. So, try and stay in that zone, or that feeling, so you can kind of declutter your mind, and you can I guess embrace everything you possibly learned that day.
Layer your clothes. Whatever you do, layer your clothes, because these things can get very cold, because as a speaker, it’s actually can get really, really hot on stage. Especially with the lights, the video, and things like that, so when you’re on stage you tend to want the temperature lower, so rooms can get cold, and some of those halls are massive, so they’re cold. Comfy shoes, layer your clothes. Get there early to get a great seat, people. Even if you have paid big money to be at the front of the room, very, very few events actually are allocated seating, so get there early so you can get a seat. Like just, it’s non-negotiable. Get there early, get a good seat.
Before you actually go, get to know the speakers, and I don’t mean you know, stalk them, and send them messages, and go, “Hi, I’m going to your event. I want to love your…” Get to know who they are, and what they talk about, because sometimes you might not know them all, and instead of going, “Oh, I don’t know who that is, I won’t listen to them.” If you’ve paid, spend a bit of time, you might go, “Oh, they might have a valid point about this,” or it’s interesting to see how they talk, or anything like that. So, get to know them, follow them on social, that kind of thing.
Know the program, if it’s available. Now, a lot of times programs are quite vague, I guess is the word for it, and sometimes that’s just about timing, about people’s flights, about all sorts of things. So, take a step back, have a look at what the program is, if you can, and nut out where you want to be and what you want to see.
Don’t try and do your normal stuff while you’re there. It’s really hard to switch brains, or leave a room, or go, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to do X, Y and Z today,” when you’re in a different head space. So, if you can actually remove yourself from what you do in your day job, when you’re ,in a day conference or two day, three day, four, whatever it is. Go with an open, nonjudgmental mind. I’m so tired I can’t even say it.
And why I say this one is quite often when we’ve seen things, or people on social media, or we’ve read their book, or something like that, we have this preconceived idea of what they’re like, and then we go, “Oh, I don’t want to listen to them, because they’re a wanker,” or, “They swear too much,” or, “Oh, I don’t like what she wears,” or, “Blah, blah, blah,” and we write them off, or we just go in with a different attitude. Don’t do that. I have learned more from people that I thought previously I was never going to ever want to learn anything from, because I let go of that crap. So, go with that open mind.
Know your elevator pitch when you’re at these things, because you never know who’s going to come up to you and go, “Hi, I’m… What do you do?” And if you’re standing going, “I.. I… I’m um… I’m um…” just know you’ve got seconds, seconds to get someone’s attention, people. So, we’ve talked about it before. Even if it’s, “I help kids at school with great canteen lunches.” Like just get it out there.
Take notes, take notes, take notes, take notes, take notes, take notes. If you can take colored pens and things with you, because looking at that color on the page will spark thought. Give yourself a little kind of hieroglyphic code. So, if there’s something you want to ask yourself a question about, put like a big question in front of it. If it’s something you want to absolutely action right away, put a big exclamation mark. Little swirly circles. Some of the notes that I take are… I think I’d actually probably have to be drunk to reread some of them, because my hieroglyphics are so crazy, but it works, and it does kind of spark thought.
Hydrate and snack. Water, snack, water, snack, water, snack. I have in the past thought, “Oh, I’ll just have some chocolate that’ll pick me up, or another coffee.” Yeah, and then you come crushing down. So, don’t do that. Take good stuff, fruit nuts, you know the draw.
Know why you’re there. Like we all go to these things really looking for something. Whether there is an online retail exhibition and you want to learn the best way to track parcels, that’s what you’re going for. You might be going to a musicians conference and you want to get to know some bass players. You might be going to… Look, there’s got to be… You might be going to a motivational seminar and you want to get out of how you’re feeling in your life, your state at the moment.
Know your primary goal for wanting to go. I think that’s really important to know at least one primary goal, and know there’s a question in your mind that you need answered. So, when you’re walking in there, you know by the end of this two hour seminar, seven hour seminar, seven day seminar, whatever it is, or a trade show. What’s that one question I really, really, really want answered? And focus on that. Don’t not learn the other stuff, but make sure you leave knowing that thing.
Oh, I lost my point there. No, I didn’t. Talk to strangers. Now, I talk about this in my confidence challenge, and I talk about you having to do it every day. Just walk up to people and talk to them. Now, I know at some of these things, they all get very huggy, and high fivey, and that’s not everybody’s jam. I totally get that. Actually not much of my jam, I’ve got to confess. Don’t mind little hugs, but the high fives aren’t my thing, but going up and talking to other people instead of necessarily the person you sit next to, or the people you came with is really, really, really important. Like today, for example, thousands of people, the relationships that may have been formed just because someone walked up to someone and said, “Hello,” or “Oh, what did you think of so-and-so?”
“Oh my God, I can’t believe you just said that,” or, “How much did that guy swear?” Or like… It doesn’t matter. Start the conversation. Get something going, and share what you’re learning, what you’re loving, where the best coffee is, anything, but connect, connect, connect, connect, connect.
Review one thing in every break. Now, I think this is really important, especially when you are going to take notes, but in a break, just have a quick flick, or even in your mind, just review. Just review, review, review one thing. Go over and go, “Oh, oh, that’s right. He said that. That was so important. That really hit me.” Even better, if you can share what that review is with someone else, because that will actually cement it in your mind a little bit more, because if you’re sitting there talking to yourself and going, “I should be doing this, I should be doing this, I should be doing that.” It doesn’t always rub in. If you write it, rubs down more. If you verbalize it cements itself more in your brain. That’s why people do affirmations. You affirm something out loud and it sinks into your subconscious more, and more, and more, and more. So, review something with somebody.
I’m not going to say networking again, because I think I’ve got that bit over, but take business cards. I know some people still think they’re really daggy. I don’t have any of my business cards on my desk, oh no. I was going to show you my business cards. Take business cards. You know some people will throw them out, some people keep them, some people have a brilliant strategy. Brilliant strategies like… Oh, well, that’s my Wifi password.
You know what? I want to talk to that person, so I’m going to put it in that pocket, or I don’t want to talk to that person, I’ll put it in that pocket, and I’ll follow up with them. Write on the back of their business card. You know, “Oh I had a conversation with Sam,” or, “Chick with big hair. Funny, talked about confidence.” Make a note, because otherwise you’ll get back to your office in two days time, and you’ll go, “Who that… Was that person? Oh my God, I’ve got no idea.”. So, make notes, because that’s really, really important that you don’t forget.
Follow up with the people. So, connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, whatever your social platform is of choice. Follow, connect with them that way as well. And follow up with anyone that you started a great conversation with. So, after the event it wouldn’t be stalker-ish, and do it at like 11 o’clock at night, but a couple of days after the event, a week after the event, follow up with them, go, “Oh, I remember our conversation. Oh my God, that was so awesome. Do you know what I’ve done? X, Y and Z, I’ve put into place.”. Or, “You know those amazing handbags and those great soaps I saw at this trade fair, I’ve placed an order with so-and-so, and so-and-so. How did you go? What did you place an order with? You were thinking about that jewelry. Did you order any?” Just get that conversation going, because it could be a great relationship start in the start there.
The next thing I think is really important at these events is they don’t… Even if it’s a small event. I’ve done small events with like 20 people. I do passion test ones. Where I might only have a room of six to eight people, and I might have someone come along, and proof for me, and they are there to be completely of service, and to help the participants have a great experience. They’re there to help support me getting what I want to get done across, and these events, whether they’re 10 people, or 10,000, 15,000 people at a Tony Robbins event. Do not happen, they would not survive without the crew, and you learn… I mentioned it, I think in a Instagram live this morning, you get something completely different out of an event being in those t-shirts, and helping people, and being of service, and listening to the speakers, and seeing how the cogs all turn. It’s a completely different perspective and it is so valuable.
So, if you’ve done an event, if you’ve been to an event anywhere, and I literally mean this could’ve been the school little seminar, talk about practical parenting,, and you’ve been to that event and you thought it was great, and you learned something, say, “Next time you do one, would you like me to help take the tickets? Would like me to help pick up the tables?”. Do something to help, because that will also help cement any learning that you got the first time you went into your brain, which will seep into your life. We’ve gotten very handsy over the last days. Maybe I need to take up knitting or something.
Another one is create content either for your business or your life out of what you’ve learned. Now, I don’t mean get home and go, “Oh my God, so-and-so said this,” and then you spam all your friends, and family, and tell them they have to do it. That is not cool. That is not welcome. It hasn’t been asked for, so don’t do it. But if you have a business, use something that you learned at that conference, and create content on it.
I’ll go back to my online retailer thing. Go to an online retail exhibition, and you hear from so many different people, and there was great stands. Even if your business is just selling this one kind of bracelet, you can create content about packing, customer service, all sorts of things that you can put out there that will resonate with some of your customers. And it will, again, you’re rewriting it, you’re regurgitating it. It will help cement it in.
When you get home at night after these things, whether if it’s a day, if it was two days, seven days, whatever, review your nights. Reviewing your night… Review your nights. Review your notes! Oh my God, I am so tired. So, do you notes that night.
I also recommend reviewing your notes in a week, and then I recommend reviewing your notes in about a month time. Now, they’re always, whenever I go to things I have either someone’s journal, or one of my journals that I write all my notes in. As I said, I color code. Sometimes they will give you booklets to write it on. I tend to not like those actually, because they’re all different sizes, and that’s just… That’s me. So, I do like doing it in my own thing. But I might review those notes in a couple of years time and go, “Oh. Now, I’m ready to actually pay attention to that bit. Okay, cool. Awesome. Yep. Okay. Got it.”.
Then if it’s an event that goes on for a couple of days, go back to bed early. Like sleep, people, sleep. Look after yourself. Hydrate, eat, sleep, hydrate, eat, sleep, hydrate, eat, sleep, learn. It’s a never ending cycle in the event world.
So, they’re my notes on making the most of a conference, so you don’t go in, you listen to everybody, you get all hyped up, and as the saying goes, you leave, and the help goes up on a shelf. That’s not cool. If you’ve put skin in the game, you’ve paid to get there, you’ve taken time off work, any of those things to actually get there and do something. You want to learn something.
So, make the most of it. Just make the most of it, and I kid you not. All these little tricks, even if you’re going to a breakfast conference, it’s only going to be an hour long. If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep the night before, then you’re not going to learn that much. If you don’t take notes, you’re not going to learn that much. If you’re not hydrated, you’re not going to learn that much. So, pay attention, people.
Have a great night. I’ll be up early tomorrow morning, gang, because I’ve got jury duty. Yes. Isn’t that exciting? Obviously, I won’t tell you what I got, or what I don’t get. Who knows? Have a great night, and I will see you all tomorrow, and I think I’m… Am I getting better with the camera over there? I’ll figure it out. Bye.