HTG Peer Groups Blog
The HTG peer group experience is a unique forum for technology industry resellers who are serious about implementing a model for success in their own businesses through sharing and collaboration of best practices.
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.
Arlin Sorensen serves as the CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups. When he is not traveling to speak and consult, Arlin is home on his farm in Iowa with his wife Nancy. He is a proud “Pop” to four precocious grandchildren who serve as daily reminders of why he is intentionally living to leave a strong legacy of faith and integrity. He loves making a difference in the lives and companies of small to mid-market business owners. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @asorensen