Why would I pay to go to a conference?

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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