Three reasons why attending live events can be a game changer for your business

Looking for ways to get new ideas, meet useful contacts and grow your business? Here are three reasons why attending live events can be a game changer for your business.

When was the last time you attended a live event? It could be an in-person workshop, a local networking event or maybe even a one-day conference.

When I first started out in business, I realised that working from home, as handy as that might be, was also a bit lonely. So I looked for ways to break that solitude. 

Going to sit in the local coffee shop with my laptop and chatting to the staff meant that I wasn’t just talking to the dog. And when my local council emailed around to say they were hosting a networking morning, I decided to take a deep breath and sign up.  

Its was bit daunting at first, walking into a room where you don’t know anyone. How do you describe your business in a sentence (that takes practice)? Will everyone else there be super successful? Who knows what a social media consultant is anyway? (Yes, I started in 2013… I did get asked that question!)

However, I realised that getting out and meeting like-minded people is a saving grace. When you meet others who also work for themselves, you can find a great network of support.

Other people also struggle with the same things you do. Maybe you will find your biz bestie. Maybe you will find someone who can help you with your books, email marketing or refer business to you.

I started attending live events three years ago

People like to spend time with other people. Co-working spaces work because so many people want to have a place to go, and people to chat to. Bouncing your ideas or worries off other people is a great help. And being able to support someone else with their issues is also a super booster to your own confidence.

I stepped up my networking three years ago when I started attending bigger live events. With the Youpreneur summit in London and Atomicon this year in Newcastle as the most recent examples.

Yes, you have to invest money in a ticket, hotels, flights (if you live in Northern Ireland then definitely flights – but it turns out the flight is probably cheaper than someone else’s train ticket) for starters.  

Three reasons why attending live events can be a game changer for your business

So why do it? Because the value you get back in return for attending an in-person event is immeasurable. Here are three reasons why attending live events can be a game changer for your business.

1) You get more from the content 

Hearing from speakers directly on stage means you are listening and taking it all in, in a way you don’t when reading books and blogs, watching videos and listening to podcasts. 

Maybe it’s because the events are multi sensory (you’re not just reading a blog on your laptop, you’re in a room with lights, the noise of other people, new smells etc). And the excitement and newness of being there means your mind is soaking up new experiences – and more likely to lay down lasting memories.

The speakers for events are also usually very carefully selected. I am hosting a conference here in Belfast in May and I have chosen to invite the best speakers on branding and websites to come over from England for my audience.

The speakers are people I have met personally,  trust completely with their knowledge and expertise, and speak in a way that I know my audience will get so much value from.

2) You make valuable new connections 

You never know where your next client or connection is going to come from in business, and attending an event is a brilliant way to meet lots of new people in your industry – or interested in knowing more about it.

From networking on arrival, to chatting to the new people at your table, you have so many opportunities to make new connections at a live event.

I would say that the key benefit I have had from all the conferences I have attended is the people I have met and follow on connections and referrals. They have made the biggest difference to my business.

For our conference, we have set up a Facebook group ahead of the day for the attendees and speakers to get to know each other. So when you arrive at the event and see a name on a lanyard that you recognise, then you know you are in the right place.

3) You get precious time away from your business to work ON it

In our day-to-day business life we’re often busy with our heads down, working on our to-do lists. We’re going after clients, following up on emails, making phone calls, and sending and chasing invoices.

But when do you actually take time out of your business and your everyday work, to focus on your business? To do the strategy work required to not just keep your business ticking over, but plan goals, check you’re on course to meet them, and learn new skills that will ensure your business grows and thrives?

This is why attending live events can have such a powerful effect on your business. You’re forced to step away from the day-to-day running of your business, and get distance from it.

It’s a unique opportunity to consider what you’re doing with your business, acquire new skills and ideas, and get a perspective that allows you to return to it with fresh thoughts and enthusiasm.

To really leverage this benefit, at our conference we’re giving every attendee a workbook so they can spend time on their own business plans, goals and content while they are at the event.

After every speaker has finished their presentation, the audience will have time to work through a section in their workbook, so they’ll leave with concrete ideas and actions. That’s why we call it a ‘bootcamp’. 

I’m attending three live events this year

This year, I’m going to three all-day events, as well as hosting my own regular SheMeansBusiness networking events and attending others.

It seems a little ironic that in this digital age, as a social media consultant, I recommend getting away from your laptop and phone, and getting out there to meet people in real life, but I do.

It gives you a break from the day to day, you meet some amazing people. You learn and grow. Time to change it up in your business and book yourself a ticket to something good today. Then get in touch with me afterwards and tell me it was worth it!  

Louise Brogan is hosting a Social Media Bootcamp in Belfast on 31 May 2019. This one-day event features expert speakers on social media, branding and websites. It’s suitable for small business owners, and marketing teams. During the day you’ll work on a plan of action and content calendar. 

You can find out more about the Social Media Bootcamp and book your tickets here

Photo by Jakob Dalbjörn