Why would I pay to go to a conference?

Dan MillerCoaching, Finding Passion14 Comments

We just had another amazing group here at the Sanctuary for our last Coaching With Excellence event of this year.  People from 24 to 74 years old, with areas of coaching focus ranging from finances, career, parenting, rock bands, to pastors and writers.  And we consistently have people asking if we can’t just put the content online – so they don’t have the added investment of travel and hotels.  What I tell them is that the content is only 50% of the value of coming CWE - Sept 2012to a live event.  Yes, I know that in this age of easy access to information it makes sense to put some things online – but there are some critical elements of running a business that go beyond just raw information.

So much of what happens at an event like this happens outside the training agenda.  We’ve seen people find editors, ghostwriters, co-hosts and guests for radio and podcast shows, graphic designers, business partners, networking connections, collaborators, lifelong friends and much more.

I had lunch yesterday with my good friend Andy Traub who was in town to attend the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership conference and Jon Acuff’s Quitter conference.  Andy talked about his goal of finding 1 or 2 people at any conference with whom he would continue a business relationship.  And he’s maximized his time here in Nashville meeting with lots of people who are in fact prospects for those relationships.  He knows his “expenses” for coming here are minimal compared to the return he’ll get in new business this next year.

Here are some of my goals in attending conferences.

  • Realize others on the same flight are likely to be attending the same conference.  Carry a book by one of the presenters or conference brochure in plain view.
  • Ask for pre-conference introductions.  Get warm intros to speakers from mutual friends.
  • Put out an invitation to meet other attendees.  A couple of weeks ago Kent Julian and I were attending a conference in Atlanta.  We put out a note that we’d be eating at a restaurant close by the night before – and had 10 guys join us for dinner.
  • Stay at the host hotel.  The little added expense will be well worth it in connecting with the movers and shakers involved with the event.  My first real conversation with Mark Victor Hansen happened as we rode up the elevator to the exercise room during one of his MegaBook events.
  • Offer to share notes with others who are not at the conference.  It will elevate you in credibility and broaden your audience.
  • Commit to connecting with 2 or 3 other people.  Even if you’re an introvert plan on picking the brains of these people for getting their perspective and ideas.
  • Take extensive notes.  A week later you will not remember much of what you heard.  Make sure you take notes on the points that jump out at you so you can review them later.
  • Use Facebook, Twitter, your blog and podcast to share the highlights of the conference.
  • Make sure you find 2 or 3 conferences to attend this year.

And speaking of which I’d love to meet you at the LAUNCH conference in Vail, Colorado on October 15-17th.  You can participate in the workshops with Michael Hyatt, Ken Davis, Lisa Terkeurst and me as you learn how to turn your creativity into a thriving business. Use 48Days in the coupon code for a $200 discount.

If you want to be a paid speaker, be sure to come to Kent Julian’s Speaker Boot Camp on October 25-27th.  I’ll be speaking there as well and would be thrilled to meet you. Kent delivers like no one else – the events are packed full of great information, prizes and surprises!

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  • Ben Dempsey

    Great post Dan! I was also at Quitter this weekend and stayed with Andy. He is a great guy! Helped me tremendously. I hope to attend the next Coaching with Excellnce.

    • 48DaysDan

      Ben – very cool. Andy and I talked well into the night last night. He left early this morning for South Dakota.

      • Thank you for your friendship and your time Dan. You make me better in so many ways.

    • Thx Ben. Our friendship is one of the highlights of the #QuitterConf

  • Jen McDonough

    Dan,
    I had NO idea what attending conferences really did for someone until I “stepped out of my shell” and attended the Write to the Bank Conference last year. Jeepers creepers what an experience. It was SYNERGY at its best. The content was awesome, but being in a roomful of people who have a passion and being around people who are at where you want to be is incredibly powerful stuff.

    Then getting to attend Kent’s Speak It Forward Bootcamp – wow! VERY cool!

    The ROI was beyond measure in terms of not only the content I learned, but the FUN relationships that were built and experiences that were had.

    I have it as a goal to attend at least 2-3 out of town conferences next year and at least 2 in town conferences.

    Many thanks my friend for doing what you doing – encouraging all to get out of our comfort to take action to live an awesome life.

    Live Beyond Awesome.
    Jen
    Twitter: @TheJenMcDonough

    • 48DaysDan

      Jen – you sure look like a pro at the conferences. You maximize the connections and then follow through so those connections lead to more success for you and for them.

  • I was at the conference too. I was very impressed with how Andy utilized his time meeting with so many people. My favorite moment was after the conference itself was over. We had a brief Q and A session and Andy asked a question. Andy received a well-deserved round of applause. I’m very proud of how far Andy has come over the years. He’s a winner in my book.

    • 48DaysDan

      Raun – Andy “stayed” at our house but I hardly had a chance to talk with him because he optimized the time in meeting with lots of meaningful contacts. I’m confident his investment in the trip here will pay off big time over the next year.

  • I must admit, my all-business approach has led me to neglect the power of connecting with others for far too long. Andy is a great example of someone I’ve seen grow through his connecting, and he’s inspired me to make connecting and helping others my primary objective instead of something to do in my spare time. Thanks Andy! Thanks Dan!

    • 48DaysDan

      Deacon – glad you see the benefits. I am not a social person – basically an introvert but I do know the power of connections and have used those to nurture my own success for many years.

  • All great ideas – I was attending the ReWrite Conference but following the Quitter Conference at the same time! I also met one of the speakers on the plane while we were both en route 🙂 http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/2012/09/24/what-i-learned-at-the-rewrite-2012-writers-conference/

  • Rod Rogers

    If ‘knowledge’ was only a list of facts, then we could just sit in our homes and read a book of facts. Real knowledge/education only occurs when we see facts (information) being applied. A conference provides a setting for both formal and informal application of what you know.
    By-the-way, Andy started an on-line community, and for various reasons had to discontinue it. But, in the brief life of the community, the interactions with Andy and the community members reshaped my entire web presence. Great job, everyone!

  • Conferences and live events are one of our favorite ways to take in new information and experience (not just read about) new and exciting perspectives.

    That’s why we are so much looking forward to sailing with the Miller crew for the third time on the “Wisdom meets Passion” cruise. We already know that the connections, opportunities and learning will payoff for us financially as well as personally.

    By the way, here’s one of our most recent “live event wrap-ups”. Eric and his wife are talking about what they experienced at the Coaching with Excellence event they attended -www.joelandpei.com/fyv165

    • 48DaysDan

      Joel,
      Ha – I think you and Pei are the masters of conference attendance. I’m blown away by how many things you guys manage to work in your schedule. And yes, it shows in your business growth.

      Joanne and I are on Hilton Head Island for a few days – it’s wonderful BUT we can’t wait for the Wisdom Meets Passion cruise. This is like sipping a glass of water at a marvelous buffet compared to what’s coming in February!