Just meeting and exchanging ideas with your peers can be reason enough to attend a conference. Listening to industry leaders and experts could inspire you to build a bigger, better and stronger business. If you come with an open mind and a desire to learn and network with other people, you would be amazed about what you can uncover at conferences. There is always something of value to receive – even if it is just sharing the experience.
Some people tell me that conferences are a waste of time. They could be right, but maybe it’s because they have been going to the wrong conferences or they have not been exploiting its true value. Some tell me that they can find everything they need on the Internet, but how much time will they really invest to find and research the right solutions and develop proper partnerships on the Internet?
I like to think of a conference as a place where you can work ON your business instead of IN your business! You can find a wealth of business advice from experts and speakers at a conference. Some conferences have become an integral part of the workplace and business growth for many companies. I have seen companies generate over 30% of their business growth as a direct result of attending our ChannelNEXT events. These companies have fully integrated conferences as part of their business culture.
VARs and MSPs tell me all the time about their strong relationships that they have with their customers. Having similar relationships with your suppliers, business coaches and other industry experts are just as valuable. A conference is an effective way to build your private business network eco-system.
The World is full of countless “one-inch thin” digital relationships but it is nothing to compare to the deeper relationships that you develop in person. It is wise to really get to know the right people representing the vendor before you invest in building a partnership. Conferences are great places to meet these people to explore the opportunities and partnerships that fit best to your business.
Humans also crave socializing. A conference is perfect for socializing with many people who share a common interest. If you cannot enjoy an experience with people who share your same interests, then who? The fun networking activities fuel the energy that can create friendships. Everyone knows that many business deals are done when socializing over dinner or drinks.
Exhibitors should also use conferences for more than just presenting their products and trying to recruit new partners. Conferences are not just for selling! Vendors should leverage the opportunity to get feedback, share knowledge and gain some business intelligence from other exhibitors. Leveraging news media at the events can also help them to amplify their message far beyond the delegates of the event.
Delegates should use the opportunity to learn as a team and hunt in a pack. If you can, bring more of your core management team to events. Leaving it up to one person to see and digest all of the information and then translate properly to the rest of the team back in the office is not easy. Take notes, but start building action plans while you are at the event. Use social networks to keep your team and customers informed in real time. The more you think about all you can do at conferences, the more you may realize that it can be the workplace of your future!
When you attend your next conference, remember to go all-in. Embrace it fully and make it part of your business life. You will find new partners. You will find new ideas. You will build stronger relationships. You will build friendships. You will reenergize yourself, your team and business. You may even enjoy the experience!