If you’re into self-development in any way, there are a million conferences to go to.
For entrepreneurs, there’s Start-Up Grind… and a hundred others.
For people into improving their fashion, there’s StyleCon (now Menfluential).
For Pokemon lovers, there’s Pokemon World Championships.
For people non-tech start-up founders, there’s HustleCon… and more.
There are comic, video game, and anime nerds you have Comic-Con, Magfest and Otakon. There’s personal finance conventions like FinCon, and there’s social media conventions like Social Media Marketing World, Vidcon, VloggerFair, and VidSummit.
Going to these events can be helpful because you are surrounding yourself with like-minded people, forming networking connections, and learning insider tactics from experts with experience.
Some of these cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, eat up days of time, and you’re sometimes not left with anything truly or any impactful connections.
With new conventions being started every year and people using every tactic in the book to get you to spend money on them, you need to maximize your time-money-value gained.
How can you maximize your impact?
1. Don’t Just Go For General Improvement or Information
Have a specific plan. Most of the time, unless a speaker really brings the heat, you can gets the information they teach online for free.
Some people are convention fanatics. They love going to these in-person seminars and champion the action as some holy Grail item that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Andrew Ferebee, the founder of Knowledge For Men, loves to tell his followers on his blog and podcast to go to in-person seminars and conferences because it will light your growth and improve your soul. Honestly, I have spent over a thousand dollars going to a convention (hello Vid Summit) using money that I had saved up after years of hard work, money I barely had. And it wasn’t that impactful or life-changing. Be careful of events that cost $1000 or more to get. Or even hundreds of dollars. Sometimes, the event is a money-making scheme for the organizers. (Vid Summit isn’t one of these, just want to clarify. I just want to tell you I did spend a lot). Andrew runs events so he isn’t being completely objective when he’s promoting these events.
There are plenty of conventions and conferences that cost $50 or less for a ticket. Those are much more affordable and, if you don’t get much out of the event, you don’t lose out on much. Spending thousands of dollars to attend an events and pinning all your hopes and expectations on networking with the right person to change your life or finding some secret formula is too much pressure and increases the chances of failure because then, you become transactional in your behavior, which repels people since they don’t like others who talk to them with an agenda.
That said, I could be wrong. You may just make that breakthrough at that event you spent a lot of money for. I’ve heard of you influencers say that going to a single conference and meeting the right people change their lives, like title pass. That said, these influencers have a lot of money spent in the first place and not all of events are moneymaking schemes Ryan Lee, an online marketing entrepreneur and fitness coach, broke down some of the math behind the conference Freedym Fest he was running. He charged a couple hundred bucks a ticket and explained that he was barely breaking even after factoring in the cost to rent the conference room and all the other event costs.
If you have plenty of money and time with nothing better to do, you can do whatever you want.However, if you’re strapped for time because you have a business or you want to do high impact stuff only or you have to budget your limited money, this is important.
Be intentional with these sessions that you go to pick many conferences are now suffering from session overload, where you sometimes you have to choose which session to go to out of a bunch of options for every hour of the day because there’s just so many people speaking or doing something. As to various slaves in his networking podcast episode, focus on the background of the speaker over the topic of the speech. Since most people are doing the opposite, you may have an edge on finding people who are more interesting but are under load, which may give you a higher chance of forming a relationship and be that person afterwards you may also find really awesome diamonds in the rough or up-and-coming people with a lot of potential based on their background. The winds and luck of whether the topic of the speech is something that is enticing enough to get people to attend may overshadow the actual value of the speaker.
Only go if you have a specific high impact thing you’re looking to get out of the conference. Examples include:
- You really want to connect or network or learn from a speaker that will be at the event who has information only he can teach you
- Information at the event that is high value that can’t be learned anywhere else
Although the convention creators won’t admit it, you can learn all the stuff they teach at some of these conventions online or in books for free.
That’s not always the case, but just keep that in mind.
Every day, you should look at what’s the highest impact goal you want to achieve that is critical you achieve it as early on as possible. I could write a whole article on this but here’s an example:
My highest impact goal in the next day or month could be to get a job because I’m homeless, learn how to date better, or make more money.
These are high impact goals because they will ripple through and effect my success and trajectory for the rest of my life. Also, for things like dating, I have a limited time before my youthful and attractive years are gone. There’s a ticking time limit.
Contrast these with low impact goals: improve my golf swing or pricing strategy courses. This is just an extreme example to illustrate a point but if you’re broke, homeless, or don’t have a job, these have no importance to you.
Why are you looking at improving a leisure activity that may only matter after you retire and have the time? Why are you looking at an advanced business concept when you haven’t even started a business?
People make less extreme failures in these decisions every day. For instance, they’ll read books on customer support hiring when they haven’t hired their first employee. It’s fantastic you’re reading and learning unlike others, but not those topics yet.
Long story short, after pinpointing what you need help with, drill down on it.
Let’s say you have a stable job and all you want to do is become a rockstar blogger one day. Your goal is to build a blog from zero and your #1 goal should be to drill down on traffic strategies.
You would then start learning about how to get traffic to your blog and focus on that rather than attend a generic entrepreneur conference. There’s tons of up-to-date free interviews, podcasts, and articles on driving traffic.
I would only look to paid courses or conferences if there’s really some type of insider traffic strategy that you need to know or you have the money and want a proven system to save you time. However, I’d emphasize on the latter because for most things in life, it’s not the “next shiny, new tactic” that will get you there, it’s timeless strategies.
For health and fitness, it’s not the new magic pill or diet, it’s timeless fitness strategies that have worked on people for centuries.
For business, it’s not the new social media app that will probably fade into the distance in 10 months, it’s timeless business strategy that Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller used decades ago to make tens of billions. (You would think people would bother to read this stuff and use it, but no one does. That’s one of the reasons why I do and release content online)
2. Check Your Attitude and Disbelief at the Door
It’s important to mention this early on.
If you have a negative or whiny attitude, it could be yourself.
Walking into a convention or networking event with a hyper-skeptical or poor attitude can put you in a situation where you are the problem, not the people or event.
While there are events that aren’t as great or high impact as it’s made out to be, sometimes it’s you. Here are a few examples:
- You have poor social skills and can’t network with people.
- You are a value taker, value leech, or negative person. No one wants to hang around you, help you, or be your friend because of it.
- You have come in there with a negative attitude and have filtered everything to be “not worth your time” before you’ve given it a chance. Some stuff could be really useful but you haven’t given it a chance or explored it deeply enough.
If you’ve already purchased the tickets, try and just go there with a mind and attitude that is looking to what you can learn rather than trying to pick apart the things they did wrong or scoff at what you already know.
That doesn’t mean you should eliminate all your skepticism and just coming there with blind acceptance. By having too much skepticism defeats the planet just closes your mind off to learning anything new. Having us small dose of skepticism will protect you from the psychological tricks people use to upsell you a course or expensive product during the seminar. That’s what separates the online marketing, moneymaking conferences from just a general, value driven, is. When I went to stop mid summits, and it’s the same way at SXSW, comic con, Balliol FX, and many other conventions, there was barely an upsell in sight. There was one big upsell during the VIP dinner I paid extra for the by Infusionsoft for thousands of dollars, which was annoying, but other than that, it was it’s pitchy. There are some conferences and conventions, where after every seminar, the speaker pitches $1000 or more product and people flock and drove to the back to buy. I’m not a fan of those.
3. Are You Looking To Form Strong Friendships?
If so, be specific in what type of people, what industry, and what area they are in.
Then, you can go to conferences to form these connections.
There is HUGE value in forming networking connections with successful people. They can give you advice or experience you wouldn’t have taken into account, you can get access to their audience, you can help them out, they can in term help you out, and so on.
Actually doing it right is a course in its own right. I have released free articles on this. There are other stuff online about this but be careful who you listen to.
Things I have faith in include: Ramit Sethi’s material, the book Never Eat Alone, and How To Win Friends and Influence People. They all have tons of successful testimonials and results.
Not all conferences will work. Some will bomb.
That’s why it’s important to be very specific about what type of people you’re after and why. Make sure it’s a valid reason. This will increase your chances. Even then, it’s not guaranteed.
Consider looking more to the attendees that you can meet rather than the speakers at the event. Some events are so swarmed that you have no chance meeting with a speaker unless you pay for the $1,000+ VIP experience. And even then, you realize you’re in a crowd of hundreds.
This isn’t always the case, so search for the hidden gems where it’s not.
4. Go For High-Impact, High-Quality, and Even Low-Traffic
the magic is in planning and selecting the right event.
If you try to get something out of someone at a conference, you must assess how many other people are going to be there asking for the same thing or just that person’s time. Not all the bids are created equal. If a speaker going to have a long line of people following him or her around, your chances of standing out for getting a yes are slim to none. It may be better to choose a event where there are less people, it’s more intimate, and you can come in under the radar for with the different non-pitchy approach. By selecting a conference, and even going there to form a relationship with the people you want to meet rather than coming in guns blazing try to get them to sponsor you, find your idea, or collaborate with you, you have a higher chance of changing your life.
5. Never Disregard Anyone
If you’re a information rapid learner like me, you’ll recognize that most of the information or teaching you already know or you found online. Then, the name of the game becomes bonding of forming relationships with valuable people and/or determining the speeches with those golden nuggets that can change your life. The more intimate and high quality the event is, the more you should assume that anyone you meet can change your life. Don’t disregard anyone, even if he or she looks like a nobody. Not only does this make you look superficial (because it is superficial) and hurts the other person (I’ve been on the receiving end), it can limit your chances. You never know if that person you just blew off his friends with someone who can explode your income, or completely change your career.
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