Ready to go for it?
As a small business owner, conferences give me an opportunity to be part of a team – they’re my water cooler, board meeting and off-site team building event. If I’m lucky, the conference organizers will have a stellar line-up of speakers to stretch my horizons even further.
This week I’m attending WIBN’s third annual conference. I spoke the first year, helped organize and emceed at the second and this time I’m serving as the social media liaison as well as well as a panelist. I, as SocialNorth, am also a conference sponsor and honored to be in the company of Microsoft, Telus, Random House and Chevrolet Canada, to mention just a few of the other sponsors.
As part of SocialNorth’s sponsorship package, I’m inviting 7 attendees to sit at our table. Each person we’ve invited makes giving back an integral part of their business strategy. And they’ve got something special to help you get ready to go for it at WIBN.
Conference advice – what you need to know!
What do you need to make attendance at a conference successful? Last year on WIBN, I wrote about your conference toolkit, maximizing your WIBN ticket and the ultimate conference cheat sheet. This year, I’m crowdsourcing advice from the SocialNorth table. Have a look at what these serious networkers have to say.
- Bring lots of cards, in addition to getting your “Bump” action ready. Yes, lots of people have move to connecting electronically, but you’ll still need cards.
- Never hesitate to introduce yourself, join a group or sit with a stranger. It’s one of the hardest things for me but rather than worry about breaking into a crowd, I focus on introducing myself to one person at a time.
- Keep notes of who you meet, things you discussed and something that can be of interest or help to them (introduction, article link, etc.) Follow up right away to connect, either via email or social.
- Even if you’re tweeting throughout the day, make notes with quotes, ideas and other “a-ha” moments. Go back through it the next day and decide on action ideas to continue the momentum.
- Learning is best reinforced by doing, so whether it’s a blog post, newsletter article or weaving a new idea into your website or product, find a way to use your new knowledge in a tangible way.
I am re-launching my consulting business this spring and I’m excited about the ideas I will hear – whether planning, marketing, product launches, new connections, the list is endless.
Clear your mind, clear your emails and turn off outside noise before you get to the conference. If you’re dealing with anything before or after the conference, leave it at the door and let people know that you’ll be away from email to give yourself permission to fully plug in to the conference.
Dress professionally, but comfortably. Layers let you adjust if the room is too hot or too cold. When you’re physically comfortable, you’ll be more comfortable meeting people for the first time. And, as always, bring your smile and your business cards.
At the 2013 WIBN conference I’m most looking forward to getting to know the people at my table because there are names I recognize, but haven’t yet met in person. I’m also looking forward to meeting and learning from some amazing and inspirational women in business. The sessions that I’m really interested in are: Wake up your Brand with Janet Rouss and The 60 Minute Perspective Makeover with Jessica Holmes. I would LOVE to meet Erica Ehm (because she’s the one and only Erica Ehm) and Sharon Vinderine (because I’m a parent and I appreciate what PTPA does). But the one thing that really, really, really excites me most about attending WIBN is what I don’t yet know about it. The real gold is in the amount of potential and the unknown opportunities that exist when you get this many fabulous people together.
Keep it real. Don’t get caught up in other’s people successes because you don’t know their personal struggles.
Pay attention to the advice and grab some nuggets that will help you succeed in your own goals – but don’t compare yourself.
I am looking forward to connecting with old friends and meeting new people.
I never tire of hearing other people’s stories on how they achieved success.
Create connections with those in attendance. You never know who could become a future mentor, referral or client.
Make sure you follow up after the conference with those you met.
Keeping in contact could be as elaborate as a handwritten card or as simple as a “Nice to meet you” tweet.
At the 2013 WIBN conference I’m most looking forward to networking with old and new connections and improving my skill sets.
Enjoy the experience. You’re in a room surrounded with like-minded and positive people. Make some connections and step out of your comfort zone. You can meet some pretty amazing people by just saying “hi”.
At WIBN 2013 I’m most looking forward to hearing the awesome lineup of speakers and connecting with the other attendees. Last year was the first time I went to WIBN and it still holds the title as the best conference I’ve ever been to!
- Find one takeaway from each presentation. After each one, ask yourself what resonated with you, what did you learn? If you write down anything during a conference, make it one key take-away that’s worth additional consideration upon return to real life.
- Reach out before the conference to those you hope to connect with – make suggestions for meeting at the conference.
- Business card exchanges can be baffling when you return home. Make notes on those you wish to follow-up with simple reminders such as needs website or meet for coffee.
I’m a planner by nature and like to have all my tickets and agenda printed then tacked to a clipboard with plenty of paper and pens (indeed, I still record things longhand). Business cards are neatly tucked in a handy, easy to reach place and I have a backpack to keep all essential “might need” items (ibuprophen, lipstick, wallet). To me being prepared feels like going in *clean* and ready for opportunities to learn and connect.
At the 2013 WIBN conference I most looking forward to learning from the best! The lineup of speakers is successful in their lives and business so what better way to absorb tips and trick if not from them.
At WIBN, I hope pick up some tips for how to move my business forward as I develop plan to become mostly online as I move to a more nomadic lifestyle.
About Alyssa Burkus
I am an organizational strategy and change consultant, supporting entrepreneurial businesses through significant phases of growth, by helping leaders connect the dots between strategy, people and business results. I create change through strategy development, program delivery, training and coaching. I am also a long term Board member with Lymphoma Canada, a national cancer charity. Connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Lymphoma.ca .
About Roshan Grossman
Roshan Grossman is the Owner of Hot Quill Communications. Roshan is also the founder of Cloak and Curio (supporting women’s shelters in Waterloo), she sits on the Board for Inspiring Minds Early Learning Centre, and she volunteers her time for various community programs.
Find Roshan on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About Marcy Berg
Marcy berg has been in the financial services industry for over 25 years. After working for 3 of the 5 major banks and seeing a growing trend of women buying real estate, she launched Mortgages for Women Inc. Marcy has helped women from every walk of life obtain real estate and believes that anyone can become financially independent with smart financial advice. Investment properties are a very important part of anyone’s portfolio and it begins with understanding the basics of how “OPM” (Other People’s Money) can remove the risks. Catch up with Marcy on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About Lisa McDonald
Lisa McDonald Tweets as@Those2Girls, part of a Tiara wearing duo that organizes many local activities and co-host of seven MeFest events. You can also find Lisa creating content for The Sign Depot or by connecting with her through the networks listed at about.me/LisaMcDonald. She was quoted in Scott Stratten’s book Unmarketing, which lead to being listed as one of Canada’s 100 Most Digitally Connected Women.
About Greg Lehman
Greg Lehman is one of the founding members of Spike|Mobile, a marketing company based out of Waterloo Region. When he’s not busy working or taking a Plunge into freezing cold water, you’ll find him lost in the forest with his dogs Dakota & Casey. He also enjoys cooking, travelling and writing about himself in third person.
Connect with him here at about.me/GregLehman.
About Darleen Witmer
Darleen has a life-long, unquenchable thirst for technology, finding workable leading edge or practical solutions. A WordPress designer who loves sunshine, travel, chocolate and motorcycles. Her new business says it all: TechAgent 99 – WordPress Support & Design | Search Engine Optimization | Technical Support.
Connect with Darleen on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Carol Schafer
Carole Schafer, director, producer and founding president, has travelled through Canada and experienced its people, culture and beauty. Carole’s graphic editing career originated by creating web site logos and elements which progressed over the years into motion graphics and video.
Connect with Carol on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.