If you are attending any self-development or business education events such as the upcoming B-xponential on May 25th in Sydney, the key to success is making sure you take responsibility for getting value from the experience.
At education events, the ‘a-ha’ moments can surprise you. The most interesting, informative and educational moments may not be spent in the sessions themselves: sometimes it’s in informal interactions with other attendees.
Yet the unique, personal, and insightful conversations you have can only take place with other people and can only happen at the event, which means you need to invest time in connecting with other people.
Also ensure you contribute and participate. Ask questions from the floor of the speakers or panel if you have the opportunity. Make notes of any ‘lightbulb’ moments in your event guide or - for maximum efficiency - use a tool like Evernote to set up digital notebooks, snap screenshots of the speakers’ presentations, and import direct into the application. It means all your lessons and ideas are in one place and you’re not scrambling around with loose notes. You can also snap business cards into Evernote too, so you can track who you connect with at the event.
Some events, like B-xponential, offer follow up sessions with experts. You typically have to pay extra to attend these but it can take your learning to whole new level, as well as keeping you surrounded, motivated and inspired by a like-minded cohort.
Plan ahead. A day before the event, sit down with the proceedings and the small guidebook or agenda that they often provide you with. Go through with a pen, and mark anything that looks interesting. If you find things that sound cool but vague, flip open the proceedings and check them out. Circle all of the sessions that look interesting, and if two or more occur at the same time, flag the one you want to go to first.
Plan to be social. Even if you are an introvert, it’s worth stretching yourself. By making initial connections, you’ll be able to jump in on some conversations and meet more people. If you can get into the right mindset, you can have a lot of fun socialising and sharing between different groups.
Relax. You will learn much better by having fun and enjoying the people I’m with. You can’t do that if you are fixated on getting to every session on time, or not staying out too late, or trying to achieve any specific objective.
By relaxing and enjoying your time away from the office, you will be more open to new ideas and approaches for what to do when you get back.
The primary reason to attend such events is to learn. It’s your job to figure out what kind of environment and state of mind you need to be in to best facilitate that objective.
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