Our first LIVE swHw conference is almost upon us, and we are giddy with excitement over here! Needless to say, it’s hard for my brain to give thought to much else, so while it’s at the forefront of my mind, I thought I would give you my top tips to make the most out of any event experience. (And Narrow peeps, I seriously cannot wait to squeeze you!)
Tip 1: Prepare ahead of time.
Do your homework before the event begins. Most conferences post the agenda ahead of time. (Here’s ours!) By looking ahead at the schedule, you can get an idea of what you’ll need to wear/bring, plan accordingly for travel, meals and any free time, and look up the event presenters to connect with them on social media. (You could always say hello ahead of time just in case you want to ask a follow-up question during or after the event!)
Tip 2: Don’t skip sessions.
You didn’t interrupt your normal life and pay money for a conference ticket to lounge by the pool or go check out a local coffee joint. Fight the urge to skip sessions for pleasure, even if you’re the only one in your group who sticks to the event schedule. I know it’s tempting, especially if you feel it’s a topic you’re already knowledgeable about, but in those moments, force yourself to answer this question:
“If I knew more than the person presenting, wouldn’t I have been asked to speak instead of him/her?”
There is always, always, always something we can learn. Show up humble and hungry!
Tip 3: Go out of your way to meet as many new people as possible.
Introverts, do your best not to ignore me without hearing me out. You want to meet those who choose to attend the same event as you. Here’s why:
As someone who is about to present to some of you this weekend, I might be totally shooting myself in the foot here, but truthfully: Some of the most valuable takeaways I’ve had from events were not shared by a presenter. They were shared in side conversations I had with other event attendees in the break room, over a meal, or just lingering after sessions were over. Don’t miss these opportunities. (Narrow attendees: The campfire will be where it’s AT!)
Bonus Tip: Make sure you exchange contact information with the people you connect with at the event, and follow-up quickly after you return home. If you wait too long to build the relationship, it likely won’t blossom on its own. Reach out to say hello, and see where it goes. You might just meet a lifelong friend at a one-time event.
Tip 4: UNPLUG more than usual.
I’m not telling you that you can’t take a selfie or grab an Instagram story, sharing with people about the event you’re attending. But if you spend the entire event trying to share what’s happening in real time, you will miss something because you were staring down at your phone.
Sure, take lots of pictures. And of course, take copious notes. But as a general rule, slow down to truly savor the event experience and be present. You can tell everyone else about it when you get back to your normal routine.
Tip 5: Separate speaker notes from your implementation ideas.
I did this at one event, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I bring my own notebook for taking notes. If an event workbook is provided for me, I begin with a fresh sheet of paper for every session + label the page with the speaker name and session title. I take notes on what the speaker says inside the event workbook, but I record my own implementation steps in my own notebook. That way, I know the difference between their thoughts and my thoughts.
If a workbook is not provided for me, I open the notebook to a two-page spread. On the right side of the page, I record the speaker’s words. On the left side of the page, I jot down my notes and ideas. Keeping them separate helps me make sure I actually act on what I learned.
Then, when I get home, I type up the notes. (If your team is large enough, this is a step that you could, of course, delegate.) But this way, I’m able to keep my notes long after that notebook is gone, and I can turn the speaker’s implementation ideas into actual tasks on my to-do list.
To those of you attending Narrow, begin Tip #1 now. We’ll see you this weekend to put Tips #2-5 into practice!
I love LIVE events, and I highly recommend attending at least one conference per year. If you love the she works His way ministry and want to learn more about our next LIVE event, head to sheworksHisway.com/narrow2018. We’d love to have you there!