When I was a budding entrepreneur, oh-so-many years ago, one of the things that troubled me on a daily basis was how to choose the right places to be, at the right time.
Specifically, the team and I would review conferences and training events and wish we had a quick how-to guide to help us make the right choice. The problem was, we wanted to go to all of them! But, we knew we couldn’t.
The issue has grown exponentially, just as we’ve grown. There are more conferences now than ever before. There are more events to attend. There are more decisions to be made.
Here’s how I make mine. I hope this quick how-to helps, as you look over the rest of 2016 and into 2017.
- Build a list of relevant events that are first local and then national/international.
- Include events that are educational first. List others, such as networking-only events, separately.
- Write down the pros and cons of each, as you see them.
- Pros could be the educational training or the ability to meet someone important–a keynote speaker or other presenter–who can impact your business in a positive way. Include people who are attending that you have a reason to confer with.
- Consider your business plan and goals for the year.
- This requires at least a general understanding of the results you are planning to achieve this year. Not hoping; hope is not a plan.
- Compare the pros of each event to your business goals.
- Do the reasons you’d like to attend one event or another, match your goals and plans for achieving those goals?
- Calculate the cost of the events that match your goals.
- Cost is more than dollars and sense. There is planning, effort, and follow-up. Build those into the cost.
- Build in pre- and post-engagement. Time is not ‘free’ so make sure you understand how much time is necessary to attend your events.
- This requires a process. You can make all the friends you like, but if you do not have a process for follow-up, you will lose touch and those wonderful relationships will … die.
- Plan for the weather! Bring professional outfits, business casual is usually best. Bring something a little nicer, for nights out or evening parties.
Events exist for many reasons. Our conferences, at BlogPaws, exist to bring pet bloggers and pet parents of all walks of life together to learn, laugh, and connect. You get all of that in one place, when you come to BlogPaws.
The learning happens at keynote sessions (in 2016, both of our keynotes offered amazing insight into building success as a blogger); sessions, where select presenters with years of business experience offer actionable content to the attendees; and in the hallways, where there is always ample room and opportunity to meet with other bloggers, some of the speakers, and the BlogPaws team, for that all important relationship building that is so necessary to every event you attend as a business professional.
Let’s talk about that a bit, being “professional” at events. While the excitement of many social media events brings us to laughter and shouting, it’s a good thing to remember our basic principles of politeness. As we grow, BlogPaws is delighted to see so many influencers convene for coffee, cake, or whatever… in the spaces offered for networking, and there is nothing better at a BlogPaws conference than seeing pets everywhere we go! If you’re a loyal attendee (and thank you for that, if you are!) you already know that we continue to grow our focus on making sure those all important pets are comfortable and happy, in their surroundings.
How do we do that? There is no other way than asking their humans to be aware, to have insight on their own pets’ personality and ability to handle crowds, and others. It’s imperative that we humans focus on the pets first, and ourselves, second. Oh we’re crazy that way, aren’t we? Professionalism means asking yourself, “How would I feel if this happened to me?” Or, “How can I make sure those around me are comfortable?” The better to form solid, happy relationships, don’t you think?
Today, another aspect of conference attendance is using social media. It helps to ask folks when you’re preparing to share video or photos if it’s okay to include them (and their pet, at BlogPaws). Ask how they would like to be mentioned or represented. Professionally speaking, the ability to film and photograph everything, and share at the click of a button, is both a good thing and a not necessarily good thing. A good thing because most of us know it’s happening and we expect it. A not so good thing because we can’t be “on” all the time. And, that one time we’re not on, when you capture us picking salad out of our teeth, we’d love it if you didn’t share on social media.
What have I forgotten or not mentioned in my little how-to guide for choosing conferences and training events? I feel as if I have left out a lot! You are now required to fill in the blanks in the comments.
Here’s a question, are you registered for BlogPaws 2017?
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com.