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Events are back—and there’s nothing that compares to the energy in a room filled with creative, ambitious and like-minded people. It’s my love language in business (and that’s saying a LOT as an introvert!)
When deciding whether or not to attend an event, most people focus on the question “what will I learn?”, but today I want to encourage you to think differently about investing your time, money and energy by attending events.
I’m sharing with you 5 event attending perspective shifts to calculate your ROI, plus my top 10 pro tips to help you get the most out of them. These are the things I learned from 20 years of managing and attending events. I hope that this conversation is meeting you at just the right time and gets you excited to put some of these things in action in 2023.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
🔥TIP #`1: Build buffer time into your events.
When I attend an event, I try to arrive early and or stay late. What I mean by that is I build buffer time into my trips if possible to be able to get on site to the hotel. I fly in the day before just to kind of prepare and think about what I wanna get out of this event.
After the event has ended, I try to stay a little bit extra if possible. It could be an extra night or have a little bit of a later flight. It really depends on the home status. I try not to leave my kiddos at home for too many nights, but I buffer that timeout so that I can have time to mentally prepare and have time to review my notes and really reflect on my takeaways after an event.
🔥TIP #`2: Connect with someone in advance if possible.
A lot of conferences and events these days have some kind of social aspect community, like a Facebook group or an extension of a program. If you can post in the Facebook group and maximize this to build a connection.
I’ve done this! In fact, most of my early events in the online space, I posted and ended up sharing a hotel room with someone I met through the Facebook group so I think that's great.
🔥TIP #`3: Wear an interesting accessory or outfit to start a conversation.
You may be laughing at this one but this is one of my strategies. I find that if I'm wearing an outfit that I typically get compliments on, it's an icebreaker for conversations.
Case in point, I have this cute jumpsuit that every time I wear it, people compliment or comment on it so it makes an easy icebreaker conversation. I also have this one specific pair of shoes that every time I wear them, people comment on them. Same thing with this pink shirt that I wear.I'm not wearing these for the compliments. I'm wearing these for the compliment because it forces an icebreaker for conversation.
🔥TIP #`4: Show up and say hello.
If you travel to an event, don’t skip out. There are times I have to will myself to actually go downstairs and go to the conference even though I get to a conference.
You have to show up. Don't skip the luncheon or the other little extra things. Show up, look somebody in the eyeball and say hello even though it’s super awkward. Don’t worry, there are a whole percentage of us— people that are very socially awkward.
🔥TIP #`5: Focus on being the connector for other people.
One of the best ways that you can connect is by connecting others. It's a really easy way for you to start conversations more when you are being the connector for others. Also, it’s a really powerful strategy and honestly, it shines very well on you and your brand.
🔥TIP #`6: Go to dinner or lunch with other people.
You don't have to do this all the time. As an introvert, I need the refuel and I just really enjoy that hermit time in my hotel room but I also know the power of networking, so I also ensure that for some of my meals, I go out with other people.
If you feel awkward asking someone on a networking date, here's a little pro tip that I tried recently in an event I went to in November and it worked well. Make a reservation on OpenTable or Yelp and be the person that invites others in. You can be the facilitator of corralling other people and they’re going to love you for that because you help make their experience a little less awkward.
🔥TIP #`7: Share your story in your conversations.
As you’re meeting with people, share your story. This one is huge because people will remember you for the stories you share. So I'm gonna challenge you when you're at events, work on your ‘why’ story. For me, part of my ‘why’ is my hearing loss. I want more people with hearing loss to feel included at events so I bring up this story depending on the conversation I have.
So find little moments of your story. You don't have to be sharing a big old long story, but you can bring in a slice of story in your conversations. People feel connected to you and they're way more likely to remember you. It also sets you apart so you become memorable and create really incredible connections at events. (Having problem crafting your story? Check out Episode 58 and learn how you can create a story bank so your storytelling well never runs dry again)
🔥TIP #`8: Express gratitude at the event.
This is a game changer in terms of relationship building and it’s also a goodwill booster for yourself.
People think that because speakers get all the claps and the praise on stage that they must be bombarded by compliments. This is gonna be a really bold statement—speakers are a little insecure (myself included!) The best gift you can give a speaker is to show them gratitude by going out of your way to say hello to them and tell them what resonated with their talk.
When you go out of your way to thank them, it really makes a huge, huge difference and those could turn into connections for yourself. So do gratitude for the sake of gratitude but just know sometimes that gratitude will circle back around in a beautiful karma way.
🔥TIP #`9: Blast about the event on social.
Do your part and be a good contributor to the event. Help the event host and blast about the event on social media. They give you a hashtag—post about it.
Not only are you working on relationships here but you also leverage attending events for your own personal branding.
Talk about being at the event. Tell your audience you're going through it. You don't have to talk about what you're learning or all the details, but show that you're in motion out there improving yourself and your skills. That's important behind the scenes for your clients.
🔥TIP #`10: Follow up.
If you're gonna attend an event, you need to make sure that you're following up. Not only you need to follow up for sure with the connections that you fostered at the event, but also, do a follow up with yourself.
Have a time scheduled for you to follow up with yourself. If you wrote notes at the event, you made decisions or make commitments or said, I'm really gonna do this, you need to do the follow up because it's that momentum you start building from these connections and from you taking action on the things that really spoke to you—that's what's gonna make the difference.
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