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January 31, 2023

Get on a Plane… Go to a Conference

As I write this, I’m 30,000 feet in the air heading home to Nashville from Miami, where I participated in my first conference of the year – the Insights Association’s CEO Summit. It’s just my third conference in the past 12 months, along with Greenbook’s IIeX event last Spring in Austin and the Quirks Event in New York this past Summer.

And the result of attending all of these conferences? Exactly the same… and I mean that in a good way:

I had a great time! Just being around a bunch of like-minded individuals – some clients, some former clients, some industry friends, and a bunch of people I’ve never met before – gets me so jazzed. The comradery, the energy, the smiles and laughter… it just made me feel good.

I established and solidified relationships. Say what you will about the time-savings and money-savings of tools like Zoom, Teams and Google Meet… there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that can take the place of a face-to-face, in-person meeting with another human being. Nothing builds or deepens relationships like looking a person in the eye, shaking hands and chatting over a cup of coffee (or a cocktail). It is just so good to get out there and genuinely connect.

I am optimistic (even with a potential recession in the offing). As a result of being around all of these smart, successful, talented professionals, I feel good about our future and the future of the MR industry.

I got a little smarter. There were number of interesting presentations from a bunch of very credible and engaging presenters. And in this case, topics that small-to-midsize business owners would appreciate.

I spent some time thinking! Something I don’t do nearly enough of these days. For the three days of the conference, often triggered by the speakers or in one-on-one conversations with other CEOs, I actually thought about my business and how to make it better. That is, for those three days, I worked ON my business, not IN it! [A great, big, sincere “thank you” to my super-talented team for keeping things rolling smoothly while I was away!]

I served as a resource for others. We all have knowledge and experience worth sharing, and there were times when I got to do that… in roundtable discussions, in one-on-one conversations, and even when I asked a question of speakers to try and elicit a different perspective.

I benefited from two-way awareness building. I met a number of people that I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. But now we do. And you can’t know too many people.

I’m a little fatter! Boy, I ate really well this week! The Insights Association always puts the CEO Summit in a really nice venue, and I ate (and drank) like a king! But honestly, that’s all part of the conference experience… to break bread or share a drink with other professionals, as a way to connect with each other.

Will it be good for my business?

I hope so… I’d like to think I deepened my relationship with a couple of existing clients that will lead to renewed agreements, and that I met a few new contacts that might lead to some future business opportunities.

But even if those things don’t pan out, I won’t hesitate to go to this – or any conference – again, because of all of the other benefits you get by being there in person. Well, except for the ‘fatter’ thing!

So, here’s my advice to you… look at the calendar of conferences coming up in 2023, find the two or three that are the best fit for you, then register, and make plans to go. It’s an investment you will not regret!

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