Next week I take off for the Blogworld and New Media Expo 2009. Despite who shows up and/or what is taught in the sessions, this will be a wildly successful event for me. I hope it is the same for you. Here are 5 things/truths/etc. I insist on for every live event I attend. I recommend you do the same:
Live Events Aren't About Content, They're About People. Yes, bring a notebook and be prepared to get edumacated, but realize that if the content is in any way important, there will be other ways to catch it. The person sitting (or standing) next to you …, no such guarantee.
The Big Distractions Are The Big Distractions. In Vegas, the distraction is, well, Vegas. In other towns it might be Disneyland, the nightlife, or even the hotel bar. You didn't come for these things and if these things ever get in the way of what you did come for, you're ripping yourself off. I have no doubt in my mind that BILLIONS have been lost at events because of distractions at the event.
Make A Top 3, 5 and 10 List. If you don't know what you want to accomplish, it won't happen. Make a top 3, a top 5, and a top 10 list of things you want to accomplish. Keep on an index card in your pocket and double check that you're doing what's important – and not chasing the shiny item in the booth that's making a lot of noise.
Buy. You're already paying for the hotel, flight, entry fees and more. It's part of doing business and will make you money in the long term if you “do it right.” With that said, consider a budget for “buying” coffee, a meal, or drinks for the people you meet along the way. Anyone who accepts will be instantly in your debt and the relationship that comes from such will always do more for you than a fancy brochure ever will.
Push Dialogue, Not Agenda. Agendas are plenty at events. Dialogues are rare, and will often get you considerably more time to examine agendas later. I can't tell you the times I've gone in with a goal of “x” and walked out with something 10x because we dialogued first.
What are your tips for live events?