I’m constantly bombarded with promotion about business and marketing events. So much so that I have grown to ignore the majority of them. After attending a couple dozen events, I have finally narrowed down a quick, 60 second formula for determining which events are worth my time and money to attend (the event better be darn good for me to fly there, miss valuable work time and fly back!).
For me, the value in attending a business event is in the ideas I get from the speakers and fellow attendees. There is something about being away from the office that makes it possible to think outside the constraints of what we are already doing or any issues we are running into. Webinars and articles are great, but the distractions of work are too close for me to really get inspired.
A great idea (or two or three) can make a huge difference in your company’s bottom line. I want you to attend GOOD events. That’s why I put together this 60-second checklist for you:
1. Do the Speakers have Real Experience in What They are Covering? Or are they just good at speaking?
This is probably the biggest factor that can make or break any seminar — the speakers.
Make sure that the seminar you’re attending has quality presenters. That means doing a little research online to learn more about them. Keep these questions in mind while you’re Googling:
- Have they built a business that’s already successful and still growing/innovating?
- Are they an industry influencer (meaning they’re a respected voice in their industry)?
- Is their website/blog written in a way that’s easy to understand (or do you have to look up every other industry term)?
- Do they have a good amount of experience in the field you want to know more about?
When PostcardMania’s Small Business Owners Growth Summit was in its infancy, selecting a speaker I felt confident with was the biggest challenge I faced. I wanted someone about whom I could say to my best clients, “Ten minutes with this person will change your entire business for the better.” This is why I choose Patrick Valtin. Not only does he have 25+ years of experience in sales and hiring, I trust him with my own business! He trains my HR and my marketing consulting team, and both have improved exponentially in the years since as a result of his invaluable training.
2. Is There Opportunity to Speak One-on-One with the Experts and Address Your Business’ Challenges?
This is one is tricky because you may have to do a little extra legwork to figure it out, but look for “roundtable discussions” or networking opportunities that the presenters will be at.
Let me explain what a GOOD roundtable consists of… One expert who leads the discussion on a certain topic, and everyone at the table (usually just 7–10 other business owners) has an opportunity to receive feedback from this expert (chiefly) as well as the rest of the table (if offered). For example, at our events, roundtables are hosted by the experts on my own internal marketing team covering everything from website design to social media, and they go around the table giving advice until each participant has had a chance to sound off.
3. Will the Speakers Go Above Your Head and Not Give Enough Practical Examples?
You’ll want to make sure the event is at the right educational level based on your experience in that field. If you’re an expert marketer, then you can attend advanced events that are specific to one type of marketing. For example, a search engine optimization event (that just means ranking better on Google). But if you’re a business owner with just a basic understanding of marketing, you’ll want to attend a less advanced, more general event on marketing. The speakers at that kind won’t go above your head and leave you spinning in confusion about how to apply the ideas to your business.
Here are a couple great events that I highly recommend:
Small Business Owners’ Growth Summit: Basic Event for Business Owners
Inc 5000 Conference: Medium-Advanced Educational Level
GrowCo: Medium- Advanced Educational Level
Marketing Sherpa Summit: Advanced Educational Level
SES Online Marketing Conference: Extremely Advanced Level
You may notice that I am recommending our own event for Small Business Owners. I’ll tell you why – I looked far and wide for a comprehensive event that wouldn’t go over the heads of my clients and would teach them real, effective marketing ideas. I couldn’t find one anywhere! So we started putting on our own events. An educated client is our best client and is one that we can get great results for – that is our goal with this event. We cover the majority of the cost for our customers: PostcardMania clients attend for just $97! (Non-clients pay $995).
I long ago turned over the day to day operations of PostcardMania to a team of amazing individuals. I do these events simply because it aligns so well with my purpose to help small business owners be successful which in turn helps the entire US economy.
Here are some other resources to learn more about the event: