Last weekend I attended the incredible SIMPLE conference put on by my friend and mentor Bob The Teacher Jenkins. Besides a family reunion of sorts from people who attended SIMPLE1 in Wilmington, NC last Spring, many new relationships were started and once again I learned some things. Next time you plan on attending a live event, take note of the Top 10 Things I learned at SIMPLE2:
10. The conference room is a deep freezer for a reason! Apparently, cold air beats out warm every time for keeping the class awake. Note: If you plan on attending any live events, be prepared to steal the comforter from your hotel bed and share it with others in the conference room. 😉
9. Plan an extra day to unwind, see the sights and rest your brain. This conference, like many others I have attended this year, is so jam-packed with amazing information you really need to give your brain a rest before jumping back into your normal speed-of-light workday. If it’s a local event, rest at home. If you traveled, enjoy it! My accountant who accompanied me to Baltimore for SIMPLE2 happened to grow up in Baltimore, so we enjoyed the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Gallery shops, the inside of a submarine and, yes, even the down-pouring rain for an entire day after the conference before flying out the next. If you plan to attend a conference in a cool city, plan that extra day to enjoy it!
8. Participate in as many after-school activities as possible. Included in our extra-curricular activities were dinners with random groups of people (including the infamous “Teacher” himself), networking mixers and random elevator rides. Make the most of every moment. Build those relationships. No minute should be wasted—even if it means you’re out until midnight every night.
7. Get adequate rest. That being said (#8), make sure you spend enough time in bed. Adrenaline will probably keep you up for a bit, but without rest you might be the one falling asleep in class who makes the event coordinator turn the room down to a frigid 20 degrees. So for the sake of your fellow classmates, please, don’t fall asleep in class and make the rest of us popsicles! 🙂
6. Get plenty of pictures. You can never take too many photos at a live event. Upload them to Facebook, your blog (note the slideshow below), tag people, comment on them and keep the conversations going long after you all return to your normal hectic lives. And of course, it only dawned on me two days after SIMPLE2 that though I hung out with him all weekend, Bob and I didn’t get any picture together except the large dinner table pic. Tony—you got that one with the sign, right? Send it over! 🙂
5. Don’t be afraid to talk to the speakers. They are there to support, encourage and get to know you! You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t connect with them and see how you may help them in the future.
4. Solidify some goals before you leave. One of the most ingenious things Bob had us do at SIMPLE2 was fill out postcards after each day with our name, address and goals. It felt weird sending myself mail at first, but what a way to remind yourself to get something done! His team will mail the cards out to us within a couple weeks of each other to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, and my team plans to implement the same type of strategy with our local group.
3. As with #4, if you make goals to follow up with people you meet, or projects you’re going to work on together, schedule a time to meet up via phone, webinar, skype—whatever—while you’re there! The worst thing is to arrive home and never continue the relationships you started or allow so much time to go by you never work together on that killer project idea. (By the way, Facebook chat is a great way to continue the conversation or brainstorm new ideas with someone—right Therese?)
2. Bring extra paper for notes and a to-do list. Now, Bob’s SIMPLE conference includes lined paper because it’s school, and because, well, he’s awesome. But not every event will provide adequate note-taking space. This time I took an extra sheet out and created a single to-do list on that one sheet. I kept a running tally of things as they struck me, or as a speaker suggested, and am now ticking them off. Things like moving something on your website, sending info to people you meet there, signing up for newsletters others recommend, project ideas, marketing ideas, cool websites to check out (ie: ThinkGeek.com ROCKS! Thanks Bob!) and books to purchase are all part of my SIMPLE to-do list. It also makes you look super organized and like a big action taker to your peers. 😉
And the #1 thing I learned at SIMPLE2?
1. Learn from your instructors’ mistakes! Bob shared a classic we will laugh about for years… During the wonderful Connie Ragen Green‘s presentation, he decided to try a new product to keep himself from getting sick (like what happened at SIMPLE1). Let’s just say poor Connie didn’t understand why Bob was convulsing in the back of the room, but she kept on truckin’ through her presentation despite the distraction. Tip #1: If you’re going to try something new when you get home, follow the directions. Tip #2: In case you’re wondering, “Zesty Orange” Airborne tastes a lot like a really zesty orange smothered in Tobasco sauce infused with… SHAZAM! And poor Bob still didn’t know until dinner that night it is supposed to be dissolved in water. Sorry Bob, I warned you this would end up in a blog post! 🙂
But seriously, live events are where it’s at. The things you learn, the growth you’ll see in yourself and your business, the mentors you’ll acquire, the shared laughter that will continue bonding you to others way beyond the life of the event itself—it is all worth the price of travel, hotel, time and ticket cost.
So with that, I’ll be at SIMPLE3. WILL YOU?
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(If you were at SIMPLE2 and have a story, tip or tidbit you learned to share, please comment!)