Monday, April 8, 2013

Four Ways to Get Your Money's Worth at Conferences

Are you a seminar or conference groupie?  Do you love attending conferences that get you fired up and energized?  I do!  Stephen Covey in his Seven Habits of Highly Successful People identifies a key habit of Sharpen the Saw which is planned and intentional learning and growing. One of the common characteristics of high achievers is that they keep on learning.  They recognize the value of investing in themselves in order to create the life they want and achieve their goals.   Dan Miller was the first coach I knew that recommended a budget item for self improvement and I've followed this advice for years.


High Achievers Plan Intentional Growth

There are lots of ways to Sharpen the Saw.  In the beginning of my entrepreneurial venture, I read a lot of books.  I still read a lot of books.  I also recommend a lot of books to others and if you follow my blog, you know that I post many of those books under resources and on my Shelfari. You can be assured that if you acquire one of the books I recommend that you will learn something new from it.

There are also lots of ways to learn on the internet.  I attend webinars and join online classes.  The advantage of this type of learning is that you can progress at your own speed on your own timeframe.  Many times you can even go back over and over to refresh what you've learned.  Jeff Goin's online writing class,  Tribewriters is a great example of this.    You can drop into the lesson at anytime or listen to the recording at any time.  You can interact with other participants in forums.  You can even post your writing online and have it  critiqued.

What Makes a Good Conference?

One of the best ways to sharpen the saw is to attend conferences and seminars.  While these can be more expensive than books or online classes, the experience can be invaluable.  Here are four qualities I look for in the conferences that I attend:

  • Inspirational and Motivational-- A great conference gets me fired up and enthusiastic  It fuels the fires that may be burning low.  It inspires and empowers me to keep moving forward.
  • Practical application--I look for conferences that have a track record of over delivering information and resources on a consistent basis.  This doesn't necessarily mean that the conference is packed with well known speakers.  It does mean that the speakers often already provide valuable content through blogs, books and other mediums.  I always research speakers before I attend a conference.
  • Opportunities to network- Sometimes at a conference, you can learn as much from other participants as you can from the actual sessions that you attend.  The Called Woman Conference 2013:  Let's Do Launch!  was created by myself and two other women that I met at Kent Julian's Speakers Bootcamp over three years ago.  We connected, brainstormed and created the kind of conference that we would want to attend ourselves.  Spending time networking at conferences can be a gold mine of opportunities.
  • Good value--Conferences can be expensive but the cost does not determine the value.  I've attended conferences where I felt I got my money's worth and conferences where I felt I was  wasting my time.  What makes the difference?  First, the speakers must be clearly invested in bettering the lives of the participants.  This is often obvious through attention to details and follow-up after the conference.  Secondly, I must invest myself in the conference.  Making sure that I attend with an open mind and a willingness to actively learn is essential.

My List for 2013

I've been scheduling the conferences that I want to attend in 2013.  I've been consulting with friends and making plans. Want to see the list?  

The Christian Author's Guild Catch the Wave Writing Conference 2013

What about you?  Do you have your eye on some learning experiences for 2013?  Are you making opportunities to learn from other high achievers?  What conferences would you recommend to others as good value?  I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. Lynne, you certainly hit the nail on the proverbial head - high achievers are always wanting to learn more and are open to new ideas. Conferences can definitely help with that!
    I know that I get lots of inspiration and lit fires from reading the blogs of others. And, believe me, I visit quite a few each and every day. I will consider a conference in the near future - already thinking about the Red Clay one . . .
    Blessings always, and thanks for the wonderful post, my friend!

  2. Red Clay does look good and I've not attended that one before. We should go together!