I love attending events – particularly those outside of Utah, where I live. I have made some amazing business contacts, friends, and clients by attending events. It does take commitment though – especially making sure my family and business are covered while I’m gone. I typically travel every 2-3 months to these conferences, so you can imagine the stress this could put on my family and business. But guess what? Because I have an amazing team and a lot of things systemized, I am able to focus on growing my business for those few days every few months. It’s been a great addition to my marketing plan.
But like I mentioned, it wouldn’t be possible without systems. I have systems for most everything (I’m probably a bit crazy in that aspect, but it works for me!) I want to share a few of those with you.
Before the event:
- Family. Because my kids are little, I usually have to arrange sitters for my kids. We are fortunate to have many people close to us that are willing to help out. I also try to plan meals so no one goes hungry while I’m gone 🙂
- Team. Communicate to my team that I’ll be out and how they can get ahold of me if needed (they are so amazing though, they rarely require anything from me!)
- Event Info. Review all the event info – where am I staying? Do I need a car rental or will Uber suffice? Where is the venue in relation to where I’m staying?
Funny story about this. I was recently in Houston and didn’t go through my preplanning like I usually do and I instantly regretted it. I booked my flight into an airport that was an hour away from the hotel. I had no idea until the Uber driver told me there was an airport closer. I not only spent an hour in the car, my ride was more expensive, and I was starving by the time I was settled in my room. Never again will I travel without checking my pre-game!
- Get to know attendees. This is one of my favorite things to do before an event. You can do this by seeing who RSVP’d to the Facebook event or you might get lucky and the host will provide a list. I take the time to review the lists and pick out 3 people that I want to connect with during this event. This has done wonders for me! I love knowing beforehand who I should be connecting with, instead of leaving it up to chance.
- Set my intentions. If I go to an event without planning why I’m going and who I want to meet, I usually end up not getting as much out of it as I do when I plan. It’s important to be in the right mindset for events, especially when you are traveling out of town and may not have a lot of time to connect with other attendees.
During the event:
- Sit by someone new. If I went to the event with someone, I ALWAYS sit away from them. Not because I don’t love my travel buddies, but because I’m so much more engaged when I’m sitting by someone new. I take that time to network and meet the people I originally wanted to meet. Plus, whoever I’m with can network for me too by keeping their ears open for someone that they think might be a good fit for me and vice versa.
- Business card collection. Oh man. This is a big one. I used to come home from events with stacks of business cards. It was a bit overwhelming. Now I have a new method. At the end of the day when I’m in my room, I scan them into FullContact, tag them based on the event I attended, add any notes about them that I want to remember, and then throw the card away. It makes my life soooo much easier!
- Coffee Dates and food breaks. Depending on how long the event is I also try to have a coffee date or lunch/dinner break with someone new too. This really helps me expand my network and make good lasting connections.
- Action list. I keep an action list throughout the event. So when I get home, I know exactly what I learned at the event that I want to focus on. It makes it easier than flipping through the workbook to remember what stuck out to me.
After the event:
- FollowUp. We have all heard it nine-million times that “The fortune is in the follow up”. It really is. I make it a point to connect on social media with the people I truly connected with within 24 hours. My favorites are LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. I also make sure to send a message on one of those platforms letting them know how grateful I am for the new connection. This is so super important! It takes time to develop relationships, and connecting on social media is the first step.
- Sending cards. I often will send a card to the event host and any others that I really connected with. I feel like it’s a nice personal touch to add.
- Work on my action list. I make sure I have time scheduled in my calendar the week following the event to work on my action list. I like to do it while the motivation is fresh.
You may be reading this and thinking “You do all that for an event?” Yep. A good portion of my business growth is attributed to attending events, so it’s important for me to have a system. I have to make sure I’m in the right mindset before, during, and after an event. Having a system helps me create and maintain that.
See how having a system can rock your business? In my course on creating systems, I help you discover the processes you need for your own business to run efficiently. Learn more by clicking here!
Do you have any tips for attending events? I would love to hear them!