#047: Get the Most Out of Any Conference [Podcast]

When you attend a conference, you make an enormous investment in time, money, and energy. In this week'ss podcast, I give you a precise system for getting the most out of any conference.


In this week's podcast episode:

  • A powerful video editing studio for your iPad.
  • Why you were born for this entrepreneurial life.
  • And, of course, how to get the most out of any conference.

Tip Of The Week

The Pinnacle Studio App for iPad is a remarkable video studio that cost less than $13. Some people complain about the cost of this app. These are people that have forgotten that the iPad and the app they hold in their hands gives them editing power that would've cost tens of thousands of dollars only a few years ago. It's truly remarkable what we have available to us for less then a lunch at McDonald's.

Spiritual Foundations

Seek Wisdom

Seeking wisdom and knowledge is practical.

In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.”

And Solomon said to God, “You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place. O Lord God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?”

God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”

2 Chronicles 1:7-12

That was under the Old Covenant – and the Bible tells us we live under a “new and better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6). What is our promise under the New Covenant? Let's check what Jesus says:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew [6:25]-34

And don't start thinking you have to earn the Kingdom and Righteousness through your own efforts.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians [5:21]


Feature Segment: How to Get The Most Out of Any Conference

Before the Conference

Preparation Is Key: This checklist will serve as a reminder of what you can do before attending a conference to increase the results you get from attending. You may want to customize, modify, or add to the checklist to make it more suitable to your needs.

  • Know your purpose for attending this conference (learning, people to meet, get clients, meet JV Partners, etc.)
  • Know your criteria for success (number of contacts to make, speakers to meet, deals to close, etc.). Have a list of goals you have for attending this conference; this way, when you leave you’ll know if you achieved success or not.
  • Business cards, printed both sides, with an offer on the back that gets people back in contact with you and into your “marketing funnel”.
  • Prepare your “elevator speech”.
  • Study the background of the speakers; do your homework.
  • Book your hotel room early; get a room “close to the action”.
  • Book your airline ticket early for the best rate and most flexibility.
  • When possible, set up meetings in advance.
  • Arrive one day before the conference starts; leave the day after it ends.
  • Digital camera, video camera, and audio recorder
  • Computer
  • Note cards and envelopes, pre-stamped with return addresses already on them (ready to fill in and mail from hotel before you leave).
  • Notebook (Ray recommends Moleskine notebooks). Pens.
  • Jacket (conference rooms are often kept cold!)
  • Target list of people you want to meet.
  • Target list of subjects you want to learn about from each speaker. A list of questions you want answered before you leave.

During the Conference

You’re Working! While you’re at a conference, you’re at work – this is not a weekend vacation. Make every moment as profitable as possible.

  • Get checked in, put your “stuff” away, and set up your “temporary office”.
  • Keep your room neat and organized in case you have a business meeting there.
  • Meet and greet people in the bar the night before the conference starts.
  • Never eat alone, and don’t eat with the same person twice.
  • Get your picture taken with people (speakers and “regular people” too).
  • Introduce people to one another; make connections between people.
  • Arrive at the registration desk/conference room early each day. Meet and greet people.
  • Use your “elevator speech” or “audio logo” to start conversations.
  • Network between sessions; plan meetings between sessions.
  • Eat small, light meals frequently to keep your energy level consistent.
  • Keep breath fresh. Stinky breath does NOT win friends.
  • Dress comfortably in business casual attire; wear comfortable shoes.
  • Don’t carry too much “stuff” with you into the conference room.
  • Do carry your business cards at all times, and your calendar (book, smartphone, etc.)
  • Turn OFF your cell phone ringer; don’t take or make calls in the conference meeting room (!).
  • Close doors quietly when leaving or entering the room during a session.
  • Attend all networking events; get your photo taken with everyone.
  • Take photos of other people together – send them a copy (get their contact info!).
  • If appropriate, get audio or video testimonials from your clients.
  • Give testimonials whenever you can; it’s good promotion for you.
  • Start early, and keep going late; schedule a nap so you can do the late-night networking.

After the Conference

The Golden Mile! This is where most people really fall down – the “last mile”, or as we like to call it, “the Golden Mile”. It’s all about the follow-up and the follow-through.

  • Organize all your notes, to-dos, and business cards.
  • Write notes to all your key contacts on the note cards you brought; mail them from the hotel before you leave.
  • Share a ride to the airport if possible; make it a networking opportunity.
  • Use the time in the airport lounge or on the plane to write emails, follow-up notes, and make to-do lists.
  • Send quick follow-up emails to everyone on the list you built at the conference. Upload digital photos of you with other people to a photo service; send a copy to them using a service like http://sendoutcards.com Post photos to your Facebook and Google+ account.
  • Put to-dos into your planning system (Outlook, iPhone, GTD, etc.). Plug them in over the next 3 weeks so nothing falls through the cracks.
  • When home, unpack and organize all your materials immediately.?Call every person you met at the conference. Calling on the phone sets you apart. Quickly fulfill any promises you made.
  • Go through your notes from the conference (all neatly collected in your Moleskine notebook or other “idea capture device”, right?). Anything that can be done in 2 minutes or less (domain registration, emails, downloads, etc.) — just DO it. Anything that will take longer, SCHEDULE it in your planning system.
  • Review your goals and criteria for success from the conference; evaluate how you did.
  • Update these checklists with items you thought of that should be on them; constantly be refining your checklists and systems.
  • Schedule the consumption of any Continuing Education products you purchased at the conference, so that you actually USE them.

Special Announcements

  1. My own conference, the 3-Day Live Intensive, is April 5-7 in Phoenix. Get your early-bird ticket discount right now – click here.
  2. I’m attending the Platform Conference in Nashville. It is probably sold out.  Get a ticket while you can!

Would you like to have me speak at your event? Click here to visit my speaking page and get details on my availability.

Your Feedback

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Do you have any tips you would add? Share your ideas and tactics below in the comments.



Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.