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Let’s address the elephant in the room:

Attending conferences, seminars, and conventions cost a pretty penny. And if it’s not a local event, adding airfare, accommodations, and more to the mix means you’re probably looking at several thousand dollars spent to attend.

However, the experience can be life-changing and well worth the money if you’re intentional with your time.

I’ve learned valuable lessons after attending a few conferences that are helping me get a better return whenever I invest in live events.

Don’t Get Caught up in the Hype

The energy at conferences, conventions, and workshops is often indescribable.

Everyone in attendance has similar goals and are sharing ideas. It may be one of the very few times throughout the year when you’re around people that actually “get you.”

Sit back and bask in the energy, but also think about how you will apply the theories you learn. Jot down actionable takeaways that you can implement as soon as the event ends.

A plan of action is what keeps the momentum going after you leave the conference and are no longer on a high from being with peers.

It will also help you avoid the dreaded “what do I do now?” conundrum where you’re inspired without direction, and so nothing gets done.

Make a “No Ifs, Ands, or Buts” List

Conferences usually go by in a blur of mixers and workshops. The event is over before you know it. Come up with a bucket list of things you must do before it ends to maximize your time.

Keep your list in your back pocket. Run through it a few times per day to make sure you’re gaining the most from your experience.

Some bucket list items may include:

  • Meeting someone you’ve been dying to meet
  • Asking a burning question at one of the workshops
  • Masterminding with a group of peers about a problem you’re having
  • Creating a mastermind of people who can hold you accountable to goals after the event
  • Connecting with a vendor or sponsor that you want to form a partnership with

Don’t be afraid to add or remove items from your conference bucket list as you meet people and learn new information.

Be a Night Owl (at least for a Few Days)

You may want to skip this tip if you’re someone who needs a solid eight hours of sleep to be coherent in the morning.

I’ve found some of the best conversations at conferences happen in the evening and after hours when you sacrifice some beauty rest. Less structured parts of the event are times when you can really get to know people.

Don’t skip off to bed right away when the scheduled events of the day are over. Hang around the lobby bar or restaurant and order a few evening snacks instead.

Final Word

Conferences, summits, and other live events can be a game changer for business owners. They’ve been a game changer for my business because of the things I’ve learned and people I’ve met.

However, just showing up to a conference doesn’t mean it’s going to pay off. You have to go with a game plan and be willing to apply what you learned to get your money’s worth.