There are social media and digital marketing events every weekend of the year, and in May...up to 30 events per weekend. There is no lack of learning, networking and growing for sure.
But going to conferences can hurt your business as easily as they can help it. Your business deserves your focus and your good decision making. So let's walk through six critical mindset factors to turn the event into a success.
Your Number One Challenge
Have you ever been asked what would be the order to fill a jar when you have rocks, pebbles and sand? We all know the answer is put the rocks in first, then the pebbles because the sand will then filter through to the bottom.
Before you even sign up to attend an event, take stock of your big rocks. What problems must you solve first.
You don't want to spend an entire weekend working on sand only to come back to your big rocks. While the big challenges are often the hardest, solving them produces the biggest results.
Path of Least Resistance
There is a lot to be learned from sessions. And while we often go to sessions about topics we're “interested in,” we don't typically think through the process of execution until much later. And when we run into hard things, things we don't know or stumbling blocks...execution stops. Because it is so much easier spending time on things we know.
It's important to take a moment and think through execution while you're at the event. Don't leave without having asked the questions of the experts that will lead you to success. Walking away with just ideas is not often effective. Don't let the path of least resistance stall your business.
The Power of Regret
In such a tight community there is often the feeling that we need to go to an event or we're going to miss out on something big. Don't let this feeling become more powerful than your desire to grow your business and serve your audience. Whether it's a dinner with a big name, zip-lining over the forest canopy or hearing a great speaker, none of these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Because guess what? That guest speaker you want to hear would probably love an email that says “I can't make it to the event despite wanting to hear and meet you. Would you be for meeting for lunch sometime?” I can't imagine how much more you'd accomplish at a lunch than in an auditorium with 350 people.
Conversely, not attending an event because your to-do list is too big can be detrimental to your business as well. We all know the to-do list never goes away. So what is the opportunity cost of not going to the event? Will you get three more things done that will just breed 13 more? Compare that to creating a joint venture relationship with another marketer that may results in great sales and love from your community.
Often times the most overlooked value of attending digital events is walking away with new assets. Are there people in attendance you could interview for your audience? Are there joint venture opportunities you can create while you are there? Have you considered amassing a bundle of products that would be beneficial to your audience and selling them at a reduced price? Digital events are great places to find contributors.
Joel Comm used events to find contributors to two separate books that he had traditionally published. Create an asset production goal before attending.
How Can I Help?
Focus focus focus on how you can be of service to others. When you're networking make it your singular goal to find out how you can be of service to them. Can you connect them with someone? Can you provide support? Can you help them achieve their goals?
If you're an expert in something, surely let people know that you'd be happy to lend your skills.
Monday Morning Quarterback
When you put the event on your calendar, add one more session of focus and that is Monday morning. The follow-up can be the most important and critical part of the success.
The worst part about getting back is knowing you have an inbox full of stuff to do. That inbox will distract you from finishing the real business of the event. LinkedIn, email, Facebook, follow-up letters they are all required to seal the relationships that you made and to turn them into profitable actions for your business. Know ahead of time what some of your goals are so you can be ready.
That part about finding out how you can be of service to others, this is when it comes in handy. Deliver value to your new connections. Help them grow. You can't be more valuable to someone than being invaluable to them.
Attending conferences and events are an important part of business. Conference leaders only hire speakers they've heard of, joint ventures happen between people who know each other and business referrals are passed between respected friends and partners. But don't let the promise of networking be the only reason you attend. Your business can thrive if you think through these six mindset factors.