18 Tips To Get the Most Out of Convention
Direct Sales Conventions are just around the corner for many of you, and for some it’s your first time! I remember before my first convention I felt exhilarated, excited, nervous, happy, capable, ready to learn, incapable, and scared to go. It was a little overwhelming. I wondered how to juggle everything. Go to convention. Learn as much as I could. Meet as many people as possible. And I had to do all this while also making sure to manage my anxiety. I know many of you are wondering the same thing. How can you possibly do it all?
The answer is easier than you think (and not unexpected). You don’t. Instead, you come up with a way to approach the event strategically and learn how to maximize your experience from veteran attendees. I invited members of the Social Strategy Squad to share their top tips for someone who is attending for the first time. What they came back with was an amazing list for anyone attending any convention, for any direct sales company! Check out this list below so you can be primed and ready for your convention experience.
What Not To Do
- Don’t try to do everything. It’s normal for you to want to experience all the things! But you’ll burn out really fast doing it that way. (Emily Deutschman)
- Don’t go into workshops thinking you must implement the techniques to the letter. There’ll be great ideas and advice, take what works for you and leave the rest without fear that “your way” won’t be just as successful. It will! (Amy Creen)
- Don’t hang out with same group of people the entire time. Getting out and meeting others can boost your business because of what you can learn! (Jessica Lachney, Teri Pastorino, Laura Hickner Plee, Carrie Morrison, Debby Ott, Catherine Moller)
- There’s a lot of wasted time standing in lines that could be spent learning and money that could be allocated to more effective areas so avoid the supply shops and food lines. (Melissa Tucker, Rashmi Mishra, Jessica Bartell, Kelly McCabe, Kelly Gelinas)
- Don’t have so much fun that you forget why you’re there. Have fun but maintain a professional image. Don’t leave people with a picture of you in their head as the one who drank/partied too much and behaved in an unprofessional way. (Roxanne Harrison-Diesel, Jodi Barone)
- Don’t focus too much on your appearance and overpack. You can get away with a couple of pairs of shoes and pieces that mix and match. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Those cute shoes look great on, but you’ll be walking so much, that if you aren’t comfortable, you will regret it. (Anna Roffer, Heidi Willigar, Rachel Sloan, Rachel Grother, Monday Whittington, Jennifer Jordan)
- Don’t skip out on sessions or talks just because you think you’ve already heard or mastered the information. You can always learn something new. (Sarah Casey)
- Don’t get caught up in drama. You’re paying good money to learn and network so do that! Go up to people who you feel you can learn from and ask questions. There is a network of people who want you to succeed as much as you do but you need to be willing to hunt for your tribe. (Kimberly Casmer)
- Don’t try to run your business at the same pace at convention as you would if you were home. Schedule the posts you can. It’s important to soak up as much information as you can without everyday distractions that come with overworking while you’re away learning. (Jenalee Jones)
How to Get the Most out of Your Conference
- Be the first to say hi and make a new friend, especially if she’s by herself, even if you’re with a group. Be kind to everyone, and try to meet as many people as you can! (Lisa Payne, Gillian Spatz, Amy Creen, Jessica Lachney)
- It’s ok to be alone. It gives you the opportunity to go to sessions by yourself, without distractions, and you can give the speakers your full attention. It’s also an amazing opportunity for you to meet new people. (Amy Webster, Roxanne Harrison-Diesel, Kelly Gelinas)
- When you go into sessions, try to sit towards the front and don’t be afraid to ask if you can sit next to someone you don’t know, you can learn a lot from each other. (Emily Flanagan-Symski)
- Take it all in, share your excitement with your community, but have a content release plan on how to share announcements and launches. Don’t share it all during convention, its information overload for your community. (Brittney Kramer)
- Take notes or screenshots of PowerPoint slides! As much as you think you will remember all that you hear you can’t and won’t. (Ginger Langlois, Kimberly Casmer, Teri Johnson)
- Regardless of your level of experience, don’t feel like you have nothing to learn or nothing to teach. Everyone is there to learn, and everyone brings different skills to the table. (Samantha Chamberlain, Kelly McCabe)
- Step out of your comfort zone and be willing to do something different or try something new or meet someone new. (Teri Johnson, Reta Jayne Pearson)
- Don’t forget the essentials! Bring a portable charger for your phone, water bottle to refill, Kleenex and some snacks so you don’t waste your time in lines to get them. (Rashmi Mishra)
In addition to providing us with their thoughts about the dos and don’ts, they also shared what aspects of convention they find most valuable: 49% of respondents said that they found the breakout workshops to be the most valuable part of convention, and 36% found networking to be the aspect they got the most out of. The remaining 15% was split between lectures, general session and the experience hall.
Regardless of where your convention is, or how big it is, you’ll want to focus on identifying what you hope to get out of the experience. Catherine Moller advises that you make a list of 3 goals that you want to achieve before you go, and determine your activities based off of those. Conferences can be big and overwhelming. That’s a given. But if you take the advice of the more seasoned retailers attending, and keep your eye firmly on the goals you have set for yourself, it can be your most productive trip of the year!
Note: If you’re a member of the Social Strategy Squad, we went over how to get the most out of convention in the 06/18 recording.