10 Tips to 10X Conference & Training Value

It’s conference season and many owners are getting ready for it. There’s lots you can do to make the most out of an industry conference or training for the best R.O.I. (return on investment) and the best R.O.E. (return on effort.) R.O.E. is about how much time you can save (productivity/efficiency) or what you can take off your plate by delegating or outsourcing. To 10x value look at both R.O.I and R.O.E. After all it takes more than investing financially in yourself and/or your team to improve your business. It takes effort to make the changes needed and make them stick.

Many who attend get back to work and find themselves caught up in the day to day. They didn’t allow themselves time to act on what they learned. Knowledge isn’t where the power lies. Knowledge opens your mind to a new or different way. Implementing that knowledge is powerful.

I speak from experience and learned this over 20 years ago, when I attended my 1st automotive conference. So much information was coming at me like a firehose. When I got back to work there was no time. I kept putting off changes to when I had more time. You guessed it. Nothing new got done. Before I knew it, I was getting registration emails for next year’s conference. I promised myself this wouldn’t happen again.

Aug Maryann Croce Picture1Here’s what I learned and what I did over the years to 10x the value of conferences/training.

10 Pro Tips

Preconference Tips

  • Growth Mindset – Show up to learn and improve. There are always takeaways and lessons learned that can be applied personally and professionally. This also helps you navigate through challenges.
  • Plan – How will attending this conference help your business, you, and your team? Who’s attending that you know? Who’s speaking? What vendors/suppliers will be there? What training is best at your stage of business.
  • Travel Light – You may bring books, manuals, and/or trade show swag home. Be prepared for weather changes. Wear comfortable shoes. Lots of walking at conferences.

During Conference Tips

  • Network – Meet up with friends but sit next to someone new. Learn from them and share what you’ve learned. Keep options open to an accountability partner/buddy for after the conference. Get contact information. Make notes.
  • Respect – Be respectful of sponsors, associations, speakers, who are there for you. Visit the trade show. Thank vendors and give constructive feedback to support them.
  • Take pictures – More than you think you will use, with your team, vendors/suppliers, industry peers, at dinner and during events. Share them on your blog, social media and in a newsletter. Let your customers and community know your business keeps updated and stays current.
  • Be professional – You are always representing your business. Be on your best behavior. Don’t put yourself in a position or situation to make you, your team or business look bad. Make wise choices. You’re away from work but you’re still working. I’ve seen too many forget this.

Post Conference Tips

  • Debrief: Schedule time to discuss takeaways and plan of action to hit the ground running when you return.
  • Accountability – Reach out and follow up with your connections for an accountability partner. Agree on a regularly scheduled meeting time. It’s a game changer. Most people don’t do this.
  • Track Changes – 30, 60, and 90 days later. What worked? What didn’t? Review what you learned with your team. Adjust.

I didn’t come up with these tips the first time I attended a conference. It took years and many lessons learned. The breakdown for pre, during and after the conference value is focusing only on what is important at that time.

Unfortunately, there are owners who don’t see the value of training or conferences because they don’t look beyond the content, which they think they already know, or they can research online. (Which is time consuming.) The real value is being around like-minded people who want to grow personally and professionally. New insights and knowledge along with sharing ways to apply them is priceless.

Pro Thinking Tip – Be willing to learn and share. If you’re going to an event, conference, or training that someone else is paying for, understand that they believe you are worth investing in. Show them they made the right decision. The knowledge you gain is yours forever. Applying and sharing it is up to you and can give you a competitive edge.

Enjoy conference season my friends. I look forward to seeing you.

Maryann CroceMaryann Croce, a certified partner of Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year™, is a coach/speaker and creator of ‘3-Day Weekends’ System. Her company Small Biz Vantage specialized in performance and leadership for automotive and skilled trade business owners. She has been an auto shop owner since 1999. 

You can reach Maryann at (203) 913-7741 or maryann@SmallBizVantage.com Maryann speaks on strategies to achieve work-life fulfillment SmallBizVantage.com