July 17, 2014
UPDATE: I put this blog out in July of 2014, so I thought it was time to add to it in an effort to get you to revisit the topic of what you should do when you attend events like our National Convention and Family Reunion.
Why do people attend conferences and seminars? I hope they do this to get better at what they do and to meet people who are where they would like to be. However, too many people go to multiple events annually, spend thousands of dollars and waste their time at the event.
Why, why, why?
I go to a lot of events because I am always trying to get better. I want to meet new people. I’m always looking to make a connection with a person so that I can help them, and I hope they can help me too. I never want to be the smartest or most talented person in any room. If that is the case, then I need to find a different room!
When you go to an event of any size, make sure you do not waste your time. Make the most of the environment you are in, and make sure you meet somebody you didn’t know and that you learn something too. Your goal coming out of an event is to be a better version of yourself, to have new information and knowledge that you can use and to meet at least one key person that can help you moving forward.
Now, let’s revisit what I shared back in 2014 …
The average salesperson spends hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on trying to get better at what they do. This could include events, books, MP3s or courses to improve their sales strategies and as people.
Why do they do this? To improve and make more sales!
Events and coursework are the best chances to improve because you are exposed to people live and in person. You can see the top salespeople in their field on stage and hear their delivery, their secrets, etc.
You are their live so it’s not outdated, it’s current. It’s real time teaching. The other benefit is that you can find the speaker when they are done and ask them questions.
If you are signed up for an event or you are thinking about signing up for an event, here are some tips for you. Use my advice to get the most out of your buck at the next event you attend.
1. Don’t come in with an opinion!
You are coming to get as much information as possible that will help you. If a person says one thing you don’t like, forget that part. Remember the good stuff and use it as the takeaway from that speaker. Don’t get upset by one comment, or you will probably not like anybody. Don’t let politics ruin your potential!
2. Get excited about what you already know!
When you hear a story or fact that you already knew, focus on how you can better use that information to get better at what you do. Don’t say I know that and shake your head. Instead, say, “I’m good at that and I can be even better at that.” The best way to get better is by evaluating yourself constantly.
3. Look for idea gold!
Look to hear things you don’t know. Think about how you can use those nuggets when you hear them. Write them down and whitesheet how you can use them tomorrow.
4. Listen to understand
Don’t let your brain drift off too soon when a speaker shares an idea or concept. Stay focused on the message. Listen to their entire presentation. If you were smarter than the speaker, you’d probably be on stage instead of them! Listen. Learn. Get better. One way to stay focused is by taking notes and watching their every move.
5. Do it your way.
Even if you like the way they present the information, you have to have your own style. Take the idea and message and make it your own. Use your personality. Relate it to your background. Own it!
6. Ask questions!
If you don’t believe something, question it. If you don’t understand something, question it. If you are confused, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask why something is the way it is. Write down questions as they come up so that you will be prepared to follow up on that subject. Seek out the speaker and ask in an appropriate environment and time.
7. It won’t work every time.
You have to sort through the noise and discover what information will work for you. Find what will work and use that.
8. Take general information and tweak it to fit your niche.
Ask yourself, “How will this work with my clients?” Implement it as soon as possible. The greatest idea in the world is the one you actually use. Fail fast. Do something and move on. Keep trying things until you find what works for you.
9. Don’t be so critical of the speaker – look for a couple key points.
Critics are most often people that are not willing to take risks or try new things. Imagine if you were up there, would you want people criticizing you without giving you a chance to deliver your message? Don’t do it!
10. The goal is to make YOU better.
You attend events because you believe it’s important and it will make you better at what you do. That’s why you are there. Don’t act like you know it all. People don’t want to hear that noise. Listen for things that make the light bulb in your head light up. Figure out how to use them in your field. Take all the new ideas that will help you and realize you got smarter by attending.
11. Meet new people.
This should be the easiest thing for people, but I’ve seen it 1,000 times. You see somebody you already know and buddy up. You sit with them, you eat with them and you don’t get anything out of it. Stay away from people you know, people you came with and get around some new blood. Make new friends, new contacts. Look for potential partners coming out of the event.
12. Document your experience in every possible way.
Taking notes should be a given. Bringing a recorder (and batteries) should be required too. Talking to people is vital. Get a picture with the people you loved hearing on stage. You paid to be there, why wouldn’t you document it for future use? You should review notes and recordings as often as possible so it’s like revisiting what you learned later.
Lastly, when you leave the event pick out 3-5 things you can implement immediately when you get back to work. Put it all on paper – short-term and long-term goals. Act fast. Decide if that event was worth your time, effort and money. If it was, you should probably have already signed up for the next one.