Why Conferences Suck. And How to Make Sure They Don’t
They entice you to travel to some exotic locale, they force you to pay a bunch of your hard-earned money, they make you love them, and then they kick you out onto the street.
But what if they didn't have to?
What if there was a way we could fix the conference as we know it and change our lives, and our world, in the process?
Here's why conferences suck and what we can do to fix it.
The first week of January 2014 I spent several days in the beautiful city of Las Vegas, Nevada attending New Media Expo.
I loved being there. The people were awesome, the scenery was beautiful, and my fellow conference attendees were inspirational, encouraging and incredibly helpful.
We talked about life, business, our goals, hopes and dreams. We held meetups (the trendy word for chillin' with friends) before our morning sessions and late into the night.
It was a conference for my kind of people. If you've ever considered going to New Media Expo, GO!
But as we know, all good things come to an end.
And that's why conferences suck – they give you a place to connect, they provide an environment for you to grow, they're super-awesome, and then they end.
Our new friends fly back to wherever they came from and we lose touch. Just like at the end of summer when church camp ends, we go our separate ways until next year.
So, what can we do about it?
How can me make sure conferences, camps, and conventions don't suck?
Here are 3 ways to keep the conference connection going (the “what we can do about it” part).
1: Stay in Touch
Something like eighty percent of the connections made at conferences are never followed up on.
It's great meeting new people. Connecting is fun, it can be entertaining, and it's what these events are really all about. Don't just do the business card shuffle and leave the dance floor. That's not how you build friendships and that's not how you build a successful business.
Stay in touch with the people you meet. Connect other people who may not have met. Send business their way.
2: Send them Business
Would you rather do business with someone you've met face to face or a complete stranger?
There is awesome power in “personal,” yet we buy from strangers every day.
I had the chance to meet Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery. They have a course which, for $497, will teach you how to design, build and grow a business online.
Instead of taking a course at an anonymous online college, and spending thousands of dollars to be taught by people who may have never even built a business, why not spend $500 and learn from two guys who have.
Corbett Barr said it best in his ebook, “18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures.” If we all bought products and services from one another instead of the big box stores, we'd all be making more money and be more successful.
Support the people you meet at conferences and camps by giving them what they need. One of those ways could be by sending them business.
3: Support the People You Met
One of the reasons we're not more successful is we don't leverage our support network.
At conferences such as New Media Expo and at church camps every summer, we're surrounded by a support system. We get encouragement and energy just by being in the same room as people who are doing what we like to do.
And then we go our separate ways.
Our legs are swept out from under us and we crash to the ground just days after going back to the “real-world.” Every fall I'd go back to school and slowly start to forget about the connections I'd made over the summer. I'd slip back into my old ways of thinking and acting.
This was largely due to losing the support system I'd had just a few weeks before.
If you're not surrounding yourself with like-minded people, you're setting yourself up for failure every time (Tweet That!)
Whether it's a social media conference, a nursing convention, or church camp, if we lose (or squander) the connections we've made, we won't get the full benefit of attending in the first place. When the conference high fades and all we're left with is the waiting, that's when we need to reconnect with the people we've met.
If I met you at New Media Expo, I can't thank you enough for making such a positive difference in my experience. Your handshake in the hall, or the chat we shared over coffee has changed my life.
I'll see you next year!
Question: How do you deal with conference withdrawal? What is your best tip for keeping the connections alive?