The Only Conference, Networking, & Workshop You Ever Need To Attend

Entrepreneurs are bombarded by networking, conference, and workshop opportunities to help them elevate their business. It's often quite difficult to weed out which investments will actually provide value, and which will end up being a waste of money. 

A method of pinpointing the conferences and events that provide value can be achieved through an easy reflection exercise by asking yourself the questions presented below. Before attending  a conference or an event, ask yourself these questions to guide your decisionmaking. 

How do you learn? Do you learn best in a small classroom, conference, or in one-on-one settings? 

Everyone learns and captures information differently. Do you prefer learning in a small classroom environment where interaction and dialogue between your peers is heavy? Do you learn best in a conference / lecture environment where you are being spoken to? Or do you learn best in a one-on-one setting where you can ask questions and interact directly with the teacher? 

Once you've established this baseline, you can hone in on specific size conferences and networking events, for example. This macro-reflective step helps you narrow down and exclude a large segment of events. 

Within your ideal learning environment, what components do you like and dislike? Be specific about your pet peeves, and what resonates with you. 

Reflect back on past conferences, networking events, and workshops you've attended and take an honest inventory of what you liked and disliked about specific sessions within these events. Here's an example of how someone could answer these questions for themselves:

- At a conference, dialogue settings where a speaker is involved in a "fireside chat", Q&A, or panel really resonate with me. However, I'm still picky about how these chats are delivered. I need the moderator who is asking questions to the speaker to be equally as sharp as the speaker, and willing to challenge the speaker throughout the Q&A process. I need someone on stage who is invested in sparking productive dialogue, rather than regurgitating articles I can read about the speaker online. 

- A pet peeve of mine are conferences that hold break-out sessions. I personally do not produce anything valuable if I'm forced to talk about a topic with people I barely know. It's not for me, and I need a more conversational, non-constrained environment when talking to others. I don't like conferences whose schedules are largely occupied with break-out sessions. 

- I often ask colleagues and people I meet at networking events to sit down with me one-on-one. I come up with my best ideas when I have the opportunity to talk out an idea with someone, or learning about another person's story. One-on-ones are my ideal learning environment and I do them often.

Take the results from this reflection to further refine the conferences, networking, and workshop characteristics you will and will not show up for. 

When do you experience your most transformational moments?

This is the key question that'll help you determine the worthiness of your investment for any large purchase. Think back on the moments when you had a eureka moment, or when you experienced a radical shift that cracked your brain wide open. Think about the circumstances, people, and settings that created that moment, and replicate it.

Once you understand the circumstances, people, and settings that sparked your past transformational moments, you should seek out networking, conferences, and workshops events that replicate this environment. Were you at a multi-day conference that took place on a cruise, and with a curated invite list? Was the networking event hosted by your alma mater's alumni group? The more specific you are, the easier you can pinpoint high ROI events in the future. 

Once you answer all of these questions above, you should be able to produce a clear profile of the conferences, networking, and workshop events you should attend in the future. Not only will these events be filtered to maximize your learning and ROI, they will be a better use of your time and a calculated investment. This agenda should steer you away from events that won't be worth your time or your wallet, and produce a list of the only conferences, networking events, and workshops you ever need to attend.