Have you ever attended a live event and not known the best ways to prepare for the event, how best to engage while you were there, or debrief afterward? There’s so much time and planning that goes into getting to a live event that sometimes we don’t take the time to think through what we need to do before, during, and after the actual event takes place.
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If you’re a listener of this podcast, you’re likely a leader of some sort in some capacity. You likely like to attend events, learn new things, and grow and build new relationships. But sometimes we get back from those events and we just feel overwhelmed. We feel like there’s so much that we took away from it, but we have no idea what to do with that information. So, in episode 213 of the podcast, we break that tension down and talk about how to get the most out of these kinds of events.
These tips and tricks cover all sorts of live events, from attending a women’s conference at your church, a bigger event or conference, to a business event, or even a smaller one, like a networking event. Take what you need from this conversation and apply it to whatever type of event you’re headed to next!
How to Make the Most Out of Events:
1. Come Prepared:
Stay in the loop with all pre-event communications to get in the mode of what’s happening in order not to miss out on important information you need to set yourself up well for the event.
Also, consider what you want to get out of the event for yourself and your business personally. Set your intentions for the event by considering things in your business or your ministry that you are lacking and that you need to learn. Identifying those clearly at the beginning will help advise how you have conversations and what sort of things you actually seek out at the event.
Another great question to ask yourself before you go is ‘Who do you need?’ Do you need some type of outside services? Do you need another team member? Do you need an employee? Do you need a coach or a mentor? Or do you need someone else that can just speak into your business? By doing this, you’re really setting your intentions about what you need to get out of the event, and you can have much more focused thoughts and conversations with people while you’re there.
The second thing you want to think through in terms of coming prepared is how you want to show up.
If this is a business event, and you have a business, you might want to bring a business card. You can also come prepared and show up with an elevator pitch or an ‘I help’ statement. Practicing these beforehand so they easily roll off your tongue is a huge help!
Having an easy call-to-action for people to remember is a great way to connect with people.
The last thing to think about when you think about how you want to show up is the clothes that you’re going to wear. Sometimes we show up to an event and realize we don’t have the right type of clothing, so pay attention to those preparation emails in order to bring the appropriate type of clothes with you.
A final pro-tip for preparation is to think about what you can tackle ahead of time for your home and family that will eliminate worry and stress while away.
2. Show Up:
Here are a few practical tips and tricks for how to really show up well when you’re actually at the event or retreat you’ve been planning on attending:
Be present when you’re at the event
One way to really practice being present is to silence distractions by putting your phone and computer on Do Not Disturb.
You can also take notes during presentations to help you stay engaged with the content and focus more intentionally.
Ask good questions to presenters, because this is a time when you’re not having to pay for that 1:1 service, but have them accessible to you at the event.
Also make sure to bring the right tools such as pen/paper, tablet, computer, or the event workbook in order to take notes.
Networking as a word can be overwhelming, but really it is just engaging with and making friends with other people. Remember that people are less concerned with your insecurities than you are.
Be friendly when you’re meeting people and segue into longer conversations by starting with opening questions that could lead to deeper conversations.
Another way to network well is to give value to others as you meet them and let them know how to can show up for them and serve them well through what you do in your business.
Networking truly is a skill you can learn. It is not just something that some people are really good at, and other people are bad at. You can learn how to do this, and you can learn how to do it better.
Be on the lookout for things you might need such as:
- Products or services you may need in the future
- People that would bring value to your audience
- Opportunities to learn in areas you need to grow
- Things that bring efficiency such as tools, apps, resources others use, etc.
A final pro-tip for showing up is not giving in to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It’s okay not to attend every session, not go to every big dinner, and to set the boundaries that you need for yourself so that you leave the event not feeling 1,000x more exhausted than you did when you showed up.
3. Post-Event Reflection:
After you attend the event, make sure to intentionally debrief and reflect on the event. A pro tip for post-event re-acclimation is to plan a day when you return with minimal requirements and expectations if possible.
Think about and reflect on things such as:
- Did I get a return from my investment?
- How well did I show up?
- What new discoveries (aha moments) did I have?
- What did I learn about myself or my business/ministry I didn’t know before or just realized?
- What do I need to work on or focus on in the future?
- Did this conference/event move me towards my goals or just confuse me (am I chasing a shiny object?)
- Who else could benefit from this experience in the future?
From that reflection, you’ll likely have some takeaways. Consider journaling about your takeaways using these guiding questions:
- What is something I need to do more research on?
- What is something I need to stop doing? Why?
- What is something I need to start doing? Why?
- What did I learn about my industry or culture or demographic that will help advise what I do? (Become a thought leader or inform my strategies)
After you’ve reflected and debriefed and thought about your takeaways, it’s helpful to create some action steps. Consider journaling about your action steps using these guided questions:
- Who do I need to follow up with?
- What is the ONE big thing I want to implement as a result of this event?
- Is there any valuable feedback you could give the event organizers?
Quotes to Note:
“It’s really important to set your intentions and figure out why you’re going and what you need to get out of the event.” – Holly Cain
“When you practice ahead of time, you’ll be better prepared to show up with confidence at the event.” – Esther Littlefield
“There are always going to be things that work against this idea of showing up and being present, which is why setting those intentions ahead of time and planning ahead is going to really help you.” – Esther Littlefield
“If you are a good question asker, people are going to feel that you are caring about them and that you are really there with them, and not thinking about everything else that’s going on in your life.” – Esther Littlefield
“Engaging with other people about whatever’s being talked about has always brought me to a deeper understanding of whatever we’re talking about.” – Holly Cain
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