Have you ever gone to a conference? They usually have a lineup of speakers, panels, and topics to pick from. They have concurrent sessions and sometimes two of the sessions you really want to go to are at the same time. How do you choose? By the speaker? by the topics? do you “toss a coin”? Decisions Decisions …
1. How do you find out about conferences?
Ask the same people you asked about what newsletter to subscribe to (#3 in my list of 8 actions) or courses to take (#5 in my list of 8 actions) or books to read (#4 in my list of 8 actions). I’ll repeat them and I’ll add one more.
- Ask your mentor and your coach which ones they go to. Ask them which ones they recommend. Have a list of what’s offered that you’re considering when you ask them.
- Read websites and the conferences the business owners suggest. Add these to your list and ask your mentor or coach or someone who’s attended before.
- Ask other women at networking events.
- Check out the ones the writers/ owners of the newsletters you subscribe to attend or speak at.
- Ask someone who’s gone to AND participated in the conference you’re thinking of attending.
- Use a search engine on your computer like google. Enter a word or phrase that best describes what you’re in/ looking for. For example: marketing, startup, chiropractic, alternative health or lifestyle coaching. How do you describe your business when you tell others what you do? Enter that phrase.
2. How do you choose whether to attend or not?
Location. Is it too far for you to go or is it in your city?
Cost. Add up accommodations, travel, attendance fee and your time and get the REAL cost of an event. Can you afford it?
Contacts. How many will you make? Remember you don’t just want to meet the presenters in person but you should network with the other attendees.
Professional Development. What will you learn? Could you read it in a book? Take a webinar or telecourse?
Timing. Do the dates conflict with anything you’ve already committed to?
Use the criteria above. If the contacts and your professional development and learning outweigh the costs and you can make the time for this then go. Don’t let yourself be swayed by the urgency that many conference organizers put on deciding. Do your “due diligence” just as you did before starting the business then decide if it’s right for you.
3. How do you choose which sessions to attend?
Speaker. Is there one of them you really want to hear and meet and that’s why you came?
Topic. Would you learn more from one topic than the other?
Recording. All events record the speakers. Could you buy the recording of the one you choose NOT to attend?
Is someone else going to that session and taking notes? That’s why networking is so important. Ask the people sitting near you at the conference what they do. Arrange to meet them for coffee or lunch or dinner. Which sessions are THEY attending?
Associations. Do you have any associations you belong to who have an annual conference? Who attends this?
Do This …
Share with us which conferences worked “best” for you. Tell us the name so we know, too