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For the most part, conferences and events are GREAT and I love them. The opportunity to develop personally and professionally is just priceless. Sure you can participate in lots of Facebook groups, and they certainly have their place. Online though, you just can’t get the same vibe of a person or space in the same way you would in real life.
Last year I attended World Domination Summit and BlogHer, which were AMAZING, but I did find them a bit overwhelming, and so this year chose deliberately not to go to large-scale events. (Here are the write-ups for the World Domination Summit and BlogHer conferences.)
Instead I’ve targeted smaller meet-ups where you can actually sit down and talk to people for more than five minutes and not feel like you’re running with a stampede of many. I also wanted to find events where I can not only learn but take action on a couple choice items (three tops) rather than feel like I’m swallowing a whole elephant of a task list.
Anyway, I digress. Did the conferences I attend make a difference? I mean, were they really, truly life changing?
In some way, yes, absolutely!
1. Inspiration from storytelling.
I guess the biggest thing I got was inspiration from the stories of people doing great things in the world. Some showed vulnerability, other times humor, but most of all, a real, emotional connection. I also realized that we attendees sitting in the audience also had OUR stories and were living them day-by-day. Maybe one day, one of us could be up on that stage too.
The speakers were clear on their truth, who they were and what they were all about. Unfortunately, you only got a glimpse of their lives in 60 minutes or less. You see what’s worked for other people, but as to how you could apply what you learned to your situation? That’s for you to discover, right? But hey, if they can do it, so can you!! Isn’t that a great motivator?!
2. A whole new world.
They open you to new possibilities that may not be immediately available within your immediate circle. I certainly felt feelings of expansion and possibility rather than limitation and that felt really good. When you’re feeling stuck doing the day-in-day out, it’s tough to get out of that comfort zone, so going out and meeting new people is such a great way to expand your horizons and gives you a different model on how to do things better—maybe get you more inspired to action in your everyday routine.
3. You get to meet really cool people from all around the world.
Yes, the online world is global in scope, but imagine yourself in a room with people from another part of the world and actually having a conversation—not replying to a comment with long blocks of text on a Facebook page. You connect with someone in real life and can just be human again in a world where we’re often looking at our cell phones more times than not.
Regardless of whether you choose to attend or not, the real work comes after the conference. It’s up to you whether or not you take action on what you learned.
On the flip side, I still connect with people from live events, which is super cool! If I travel to someone’s state or country it’s such an opportunity to reconnect.
My take? Mix it up.
If I’m in a rut, it’s time to have some fun networking at one of the big events. Otherwise, if I need something more specific in terms of strategy or a specific skill set, a smaller live mastermind works wonders too.