I’m heading off to Content Marketing World 2016 in Cleveland this morning. This is one of the several investments I make each year to attend conferences, luncheons, webinars, training sessions and other events that get my networking juices flowing.
Why do I attend conferences? Why should you? Here are a few things to think about.
1. I genuinely like networking. I know that not everyone likes to network as much as I do. And sometimes, believe it or not, I have to psych myself up to network. But almost all of the time, I get benefit from making the effort to attend these events and you will too. You just have to try.
2. I actually learn things. Yes, there are always snooze-fest presentations and people you don’t want to be stuck with. But information that is useful sometimes appears when you don’t expect it. So you need to be ready and willing to receive it for that “aha” moment. So get off your butt and make it happen.
3. I meet people that are valuable to my business. That’s the whole point, right? Whether it’s a thought leader, a prospect, potential partner, or someone who said something that made you go “hmmmmmm,” value is all around you at networking events. You just need to let the value in and try to brush off the things you see as unvaluable.
4. I meet people who are personally valuable to me. I’ve made, what I believe to be, lifelong friends through networking. (You know who you are.) When you go to conferences like Content Marketing World or the Business Marketing Association, you generally are with people with similar interests to you, even outside the world of marketing (or whatever field you are in). Don’t be afraid of making new friends. You’ll be better off for it.
5. Fulfillment. When I go to these events, I usually feel fulfilled during or after. Fulfillment means different things to different people. For me, it’s a feeling that what I am doing for a living is valuable not only to me and my family, but to my friends and business partners. Fulfillment makes you feel good and pushes you to do more. Being fulfilled doesn’t mean that you are done. But it does provide clarity and fuel to do the thing you need to do to keep making it happen for yourself.
Those are my thoughts as I’m sitting in the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare. May make some updates later or create additional random thoughts that I’ll share here or at @grafeedie on Twitter.
Thanks for reading.