I have to admit when I first walked through the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center to attend Blog World I asked myself why I was wasting my time. Yet “another networking event”. Haven’t I learned by now that it’s better to be disciplined, focused in my office, at the computer, than “on the go” in a daze at a conference. It almost felt like I was there merely out of habit having gone to numerous amounts of conferences over the years being a business owner.
It was a day and a half into Blog World while I was mentally drowning in my own whining when I stopped to recognize that for the past 36 working hours I was often in the lobby area or inside a seminar smiling and laughing with some of my most inspiring friends. Genuine friendships I had developed at previous conferences and events, like social media elite Brian Solis who I met at Zappos Insights in Las Vegas, Nevada, or language hacker Benny Lewis who I met at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and personal development strategist Sid Savara who I met at a mastermind in Las Vegas, SEO master Stephan Spencer who I met at BizTech Day in San Francisco and marketing maven Aviva Mohilner who I met at a CoLoft event in Santa Monica. That’s when it occurred to me how foolish I was to be diluting the value of any conference and especially this experience at Blog World.
The point of a conference is to bring together a large group of like-minded people so that we can join forces enabling us to reach our goals at lightening speed. The alternative is for us bloggers and business people to remain isolated to our bedrooms and offices with limited access to the outside world due to our exclusive love affair with our virtual world. At a seminar or conference we develop not only our professional abilities, but we enrich our personal lives. At least that is what happened to mine.
“The main thing I get from attending a conference is the opportunity to connect face to face and make a genuine connection that extends beyond the tweet”. – Ricardo Bueno @Ribeezie
So here’s how to get the most value out of networking events.
Before attending any event make a list of the top 3 goals you want to achieve by the end of the event. Who do you want to meet, what strategy do you need to learn, what unique experience do you want to have, etc?
Then, once you arrive take YOUR NEED out of the equation. Don’t go to an event thinking ‘what can you do for me’ or even ‘here’s what I can do for you’ and especially don’t go into an event qualifying people thinking ‘Are you WORTH talking to’. Go into a seminar, event, meet up or conference interested in what others have to share. Interested in discovering their skill sets and personalities. And as you meet more and more people think about how those people can help one another. Become a connector and in end you’ll naturally become the focal point of their conversations when you’re not even in the room. Your credibility will increase because others will be talking about how much value you provided connecting them. In end these actions make you sought after rather than you having to do the chasing.
Enjoy the journey of the conference; the morning mixers, afternoon pow wow sessions, lobby con, the seminars, chatting at the bar with speakers and the after parties.
Make sure those pre determined goals get met and great friendships are made along the way. That’s a conference worth going to.