Peer Power Blog
This blog is about the power of peers in the IT space. It is designed as a place to share things I have learned the past 24+ years running a business as well as meeting the growing demands of business owners we experience leading the Heartland Tech Groups - a peer group network for IT business owners.
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Attending A Conference or Event - Part II
This is the second in a three part series on how to make the upcoming event and conference season valuable. It takes planning and work to turn your time and investment into an ROI!
Attending the event is much more than showing up:
- Successful attendance begins with a plan. Know why you are attending. I believe well over half the people show up at meetings and events with no real purpose other than it was available. Know your why. Know who you are going to spend time with and make sure you have contacted them and set up a time ahead to meet.
- Events and meetings are not about content – they are about relationships. You can get content a lot cheaper, faster and easier online or at the book store. What you can’t get there is experience, reality and application. Make sure you come with the intent of creating, cultivating, and being a go-giver around relationships. That is the ONLY reason you are really there.
- Make it easy for people to connect. Have your business cards along. Have them both printed and electronic. Follow up immediately with those you connect with and send your contact info and a thank you for spending time with you. Make it easy for folks to continue the relationship.
- Be specific about what you would like to learn from folks. It is amazing how many times people ask to meet and when we sit down stare blankly waiting for me to tell them something. Have an agenda and share it ahead of time. I would love to talk about xxxx and learn how you deal with that. Make it easy and comfortable for people to converse.
- Remember that everyone else at the event is a person too. Particularly vendors or staff folks. They get up every day with the same chaos and challenges you do. Spouse problems, kid struggles, mortgage payments, car issues, and the list goes on. This is a people thing. Treat them with respect and follow the Golden Rule. They are people too.
- Pay attention to what is happening. I am amazed at the number of people that sit in meeting rooms and spend their time answering email and being totally disconnected from the content that is delivered. Or they lock themselves in their room or stand in the hallway on the phone while great things happen on the other side of the door. If you can’t leave your phone off and your email unread – stay home. You not only are wasting your money, you are distracting those who did come to actually get value from the event.
- Don’t sit there and miss the message because you are busy typing the notes. Most of the time you never look at your notes againPay attention for the gems of truth you need and write those down. Use a voice recorder and camera to capture key information and always ask the presenter to share their deck if you need to content. It is rare they won’t share if you take the time to ask.
I am just a plain old Iowa farm boy who loves technology. Fortunately I have been blessed with a job of putting the two together, living here on the farm and leading our companies in the Heartland family - HTG, HLG, Varvid and HTS Ag. The real fun is the learning shared with peers through HTG Peer Groups. It is the relationships that make life worth living, and this industry is full of really awesome people. I am blessed every day!