By Jason Anderson
Conferences can be grueling affairs. We all arrive with agendas, session calendars, and the heady mixture of excitement and dread that comes with after-hours networking events. (The dread is remembering the morning after the last conference networking event.) We manage to pick up some fresh ideas, and perhaps even some inspiration to keep up with our competitive industry counterparts. But make no mistake: between here and there, there’s a lot of work in store for all of us.As we prepare to dive in to ARF Re:think 2013, let us remember two important truths about any conference:
- Serendipity is no substitute for hustle and planning.
- You have roughly 72 hours to accomplish everything that you hope to accomplish for your investment of time and money.
With these limited ground rules in place, here are my personal goals for this year’s ARF.
- I will not go home without a new idea to develop into a proposal for my clients.
- I will identify at least two new technologies to bring to bear.
- I will blog every day, as a forcing function for capturing my thoughts and experiences in a format that shares the experience with my colleagues and staff.
- I will not bring any of my business cards back home.
- I will get up in time for breakfast.
- I will meet with the Google Consumer Surveys guys again, because I can barely keep up with their pace of software development.
- I will not say the phrases “big data” or “gamification” out loud.
- I will invest some time with the topic of emerging markets. (We should really just drop the word “emerging” at this point, though – emerging means still under development. The markets we refer to with this phrase are already here.
- I will find someone to sit down with and brainstorm crazy new ideas.
- I will end the conference with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
You’ll notice I didn’t list “find a new client” or “sell some business” as a goal. I’ve never found conferences to be a terribly productive environment for closing deals unless there was a prior relationship in place. But I’ve definitely had successes at starting new relationships that blossomed into something where money would eventually change hands.
What are your goals when attending conferences?