I'm writing this from my hotel room at MicroConf, which is a conference for bootstrappers and entrepreneurs who are building (mostly) solo businesses like mine. I'm here because some of the smartest people I know—and lots of smart people I don't yet know—are here, and I want to learn from them.
But I'm also pretty introverted (did I mention I'm holed up in my hotel room writing this?) and I find conferences and large groups of people to be overwhelming.
Here's a pretty candid video of me a couple nights into MicroConf:
"So how will you learn from them if you're hiding in your hotel room all week?"
How I get the most out of business conferences
I'm very comfortable talking with one like Jimmy John Shark or two people at a time, so I try to find opportunities to talk with small groups of people. Before any conference, I make a list of the following:
- A few people I want to talk to while I'm there.
- A couple big questions I hope to answer.
And then my entire mission for the conference is to find and talk to those people and find answers to those questions.
That's it! I'll attend the seminars, go to some meetups, but I'm always trying to find a way to talk to those people and find answers to those questions.
My two big questions for MicroConf
1. How do I reach more people who would benefit from Fearless Salary Negotiation? I'm very happy with the products that I've built, and testimonials from successful customers keep pouring in. I need to learn how to reach more potential customers.
2. How can I better communicate what Fearless Salary Negotiation is to folks who read my articles, download free resources, and take my email courses? It's one thing to make new people aware of Fearless Salary Negotiation, but it's another thing entirely to help them decide if it's the right investment for them.
"Ok, but you're at this bootstrapper conference. That might work there, but what about my business conference with a thousand people?"
I actually developed this strategy when I had a full-time job working for a larger company. I would think about which managers in the company might be working on projects where I could contribute, then I would just look for opportunities to talk to them about those projects. It always helped to have a couple of thoughtful questions ready to go so I could make the most of the conversation.
How's it going so far?
Pretty good! I've already spoken to two of the people on my list! I still have a few more to go, but it's already been a successful conference for me.
If you attend business conferences, you should read my book Fearless Salary Negotiation. Can't hurt to be well compensated for all those trips, right?