There’s no doubt about it, seminars and conferences are a great way of learning and furthering your own education, whether the topics are related to your business or job, personal development or perhaps another area of interest for you.
As regular readers know, I attend a lot of seminars – either as an attendee or as part of the organisational team. There’s one phrase I hear so often … ‘information overload’.
It seems that many attendees, particularly those who are fairly new to the topics and ideas being presented, find it difficult to manage the incredible amount of information they’re given.
Now really, this is a good thing, right? It’s great that so much useful information is being shared. But if you take copious pages of notes and then find yourself so overwhelmed that you don’t act on anything you’ve learnt, then sadly, you may be missing some excellent opportunities to move forward.
If you’re one of these people, here are my suggestions for getting the most out of attending seminars:
- write down the 3 most important things you feel you want to learn from the seminar, or the 3 things you most want to achieve, and pay particular attention for information on those 3 areas
- by all means take notes, but highlight, asterisk or circle those things that you can do first and will act on as soon as you get back home (if not sooner!)
- don’t worry if you don’t ‘get it’ all. Just take in what you can for now. If you attend a similar event in a month, 2 months or 6 months time, you’ll find some of the more complex information now makes sense to you
- if you have an opportunity to meet any of the presenters or speak with them, make the most of that opportunity … ask them questions, find out how you can learn more from them
- don’t try to learn it all in one day, one weekend or one week. If there is a particular presenter whom you resonate with and whose ideas, systems or business model feel right for you, consider taking them on as a mentor or joining a coaching or training program, if they have one available
- show your enthusiasm – most professional presenters feed off the audience, so the more you show your appreciation for what they’re sharing with you, the more they’re inclined to give you
- the presenters and information shared from the stage or workshops are only one part of the event. Another valuable way to benefit from seminars is by networking with fellow attendees. Have lunch or a drink with fellow attendees, mingle, sit with different people during each session, swap contact details. Not only will this help to keep you on-track and motivated, but if you can keep in touch with these people after the event you’ll find you can really help each other to progress. And who knows, you may even make some new friends 🙂
One of my favourite seminars is undoubtedly the World Internet Summit. The next one of these events will be held in Atlanta, US, on August 20-23, 2009. If you’re going to this, make sure you try out the tips above to ensure you get the most out of the event.