Get the Balance Right

Ep. 103: How to Achieve an Awesome ROI from Live Conferences (Solo Episode)

August 17, 2022 Heather Zeitzwolfe Season 3 Episode 103
Get the Balance Right
Ep. 103: How to Achieve an Awesome ROI from Live Conferences (Solo Episode)
Show Notes Transcript

Have you been thinking about going to a live conference?  Have you wondered whether it's worth the time and cost?

In this episode, you will learn how to achieve a kick-ass return on investment (ROI) when attending live conferences. Heather also shares her super tips on attending them on a tight budget and how to maximize your results! Download the ROI Tracker to set goals and track your success.

SHOW NOTES:
Get a FREE copy of the Conference ROI Tracker Tool.

For more info, see complete show notes:  https://www.getthebalanceright.net/blog/episode103

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Heather Zeitzwolfe: 

Hey there and welcome to Get the Balance Right podcast. I'm your host Heather Zeitzwolfe. Are you just itching to attend a live conference? Maybe even speak at a live conference? Oh my God, I have missed live conferences. 

Now that we're starting to get into our “normal” lives outside of our homes and I'm using “normal” loosely, maybe you're planning on going to some conferences, maybe that's on your to-do list. 

Well, the thing is, when we are small business owners, we have to consider the costs associated with going to conferences that include things like travel, and the price of attendance. All of that can be daunting, especially if you have to pay for it upfront. Food! Oh my God, we've been kind of spoiled by all the Zoom conferences like virtual summits because the entry of getting into these things are usually pretty low. I mean, I've been to a lot of really good virtual summits either very cheap or totally free. 

So now the idea of paying all kinds of money to actually go to a conference and pay for a conference. Huh. But it's so nice to be amongst people. This is the dilemma; I was in a networking group with some fellow podcasters, and we were talking about some of the conferences that were coming up…and then the idea of okay, yeah, it's fun to go. But what's the ROI on this? What is our return on investment? It may be educational, but why are we going? Is it to meet potential clients? Is it to meet vendors and people we can team up with? Are we going there just to get out of the house? 

We have to think about all the opportunity costs of going there on a plane and traveling… that got me thinking, can we make it so that the ROI exceeds all the costs? We're talking about business conferences, so this would be considered a business expense. We got to think about all of our business expenses. This isn't just like a fun thing! This is going to come out of our business. As a profitability adviser, if I'm going to tell my clients, like, yeah, that's a good idea to go to this conference. I have to really understand how that's going to benefit them. I need a way to quantify the ROI.

Yes, we can quantify if we get a client at this conference and then all of the profits that come in that maybe we would've not gotten if we hadn't gone to this conference, but here's the part that gets really tricky. If you met your next BFF at that conference. You can't put a price tag on that. That is priceless. There are things about going to a conference that we really can't put a price tag on, and we really can't quantify in our business. But there are so many things that we can! Rather than just attending the conference to see what happens. 

If we have intentionality around going to the conference. And a way to measure our results. Then we could actually hold ourselves accountable to get our money's worth out of the conference and make it more impactful for our business. 

 That's what we're going to talk about today. 

If you are thinking about going to a live conference, you are going to get a lot of benefit from this episode today. And afterward, please go and download my conference ROI tracker. I put this together, so you can make sure when you go to live conferences that you are getting your money's worth, and there is an ROI, a return on investment. 

All right, let's get down to it. Whether you are considering going to one conference or several conferences, you'll need to weigh in on the pros and cons. 

Let's think about the cons. 

Time and money. There are a lot of costs associated with it. If this is a conference that's not in your town, you're going to have to pay for travel. It could be airfare, or it could be a rental car. It could be gas if you're driving there. 

Then, if you're like me, I like to bring a lot of bags with me, even if it's a three-day conference, I'm bringing bags and, you know, I love to bring back the swag. If you have to pay for your bags being checked, that's another cost. Then there could be rideshares, so it could be Uber or Lyft or taking a shuttle, or maybe taking a cab to the airport. 

Then there's meals. 

Oh my goodness…and lodging. So this can be quite spending and conferences oftentimes are in a hotel or they're in a conference center that's right next to a really nice hotel. This can cost you a lot of money, even if they have a bank of rooms that they have gotten at a quote unquote, “discount.” It can still be quite costly.

Then there's the cost of the actual conference. Conferences can go from a couple of hundred bucks to thousands of dollars. Depending on the conference location you might also require a lot of time to travel there. For me, I live on the west coast. If I go to the east coast, there's a day going there and a day coming back, I have to dedicate two days of travel. 

 Hopefully, you are building a business that doesn't require YOU all of the time. However, if you are in a place right now where your business relies solely on you, then taking two days away from work, and all the days of being at the conference, you could actually be losing income because you're not doing those income-generating activities. 

It could actually be costing you even more money when you're thinking about that return on investment. If you have kids or pets, or a partner, you may have an emotional cost of leaving them behind. And if you bring them with you, then that's an added cost. Depending on your situation, there could be some other costs that incur like hiring babysitters, hiring a pet sitter, hiring a dog walker, all those kinds of things. 

I don't want you to feel discouraged by all of this. Please, don't worry…

I have some killer tips I want to share with you. Let's break these down. If you've listened to this podcast for a while, you may know that I am kind of on the cheap side. I have learned some really frugal ways to go to conferences. 

So let's start off with the cost of the conference. So there are some ways of getting around this. You can get a cheaper ticket if you buy the tickets when they're first announced. So you want to make sure ahead of time that you are able to go to this conference before you end up buying a discounted ticket or plunk down a couple of hundred bucks and then find out the airfare is too expensive. Or you can't take the time off!

 Let's just backpedal for a minute. If you are thinking about going to multiple conferences, keep that in consideration. We want to think about this proactively Like the ROI on it. Plan out your year first, look at your calendar and see what you've got going on and move things around and make the conference doable. If you're not sure if you're going to be able to go to this conference and you have to wait closer to the time the conference is, you may end up paying a lot more for the ticket. But there are some ways to get around this. And if you are like me, and you like to go to multiple conferences in a year, see which ones are going to be more bang for your buck. 

If this is a conference you can possibly speak at. I want you to apply to speak. Because if you are chosen as a speaker, chances are, you will not have to pay. So, this is a way of getting a ticket for free. Now they may not pay for your airfare. They’re probably not going to pay for your stay. It depends on the conference. But you are generally going to get a free ticket, so apply to speak at a conference. That's one great way of getting a ticket.

Another way of getting around the price of the ticket is to volunteer at the conference. If it's several days, you may only have to volunteer for four hours to get a free ticket. If you think about an hourly rate. This may pan out to be way cheaper than the price of a ticket. I would advise volunteering at a conference, even if you do buy a ticket, because it is a great way to meet people. Get involved, because you see the behind-the-scenes of a conference. If you are able to pay for a ticket, I would do that first and then volunteer. But if you are really trying to go on the cheap, volunteer. See if you can volunteer and see if that will get you a full conference. It might only get you a day ticket; you can kind of gauge it from there. Depending on your budget, you might have to volunteer a couple of days to get the whole conference. Just find out from the conference leaders. If you can do that, it can be a trade-off.

Another way of getting a low-cost ticket is to find people that are speakers at the conference. And if you know them, ask them, “Did you buy a conference ticket before you were accepted as a speaker?” Because there's a good chance that they did, and now they have an extra ticket they're trying to get rid of. And if they were being proactive, they probably bought a ticket way back, when it was a discounted ticket, before they were accepted as a speaker. So, hey, just tap on their shoulder and be like, “Hey, do you have an extra ticket?” 

Oftentimes conferences will have a Facebook group, and you can post something on the Facebook group to see if someone has a ticket, an extra ticket. Something like that, where you can get a discounted ticket. Be aware that there could be someone being dishonest. But I think, for the most part, people are going to be very honest. You probably want to do a direct message with them and work things out ahead of time. Those are some ways of getting less expensive tickets or no cost for a ticket. 

The next thing is. travel. 

I love to have suitcases. When I traveled to conferences…I don't know how anybody can pack a suitcase that goes in the overhead compartment. Not only do I like to have lots of changes of clothing…I mean conferences…oh my God! When you go to a conference, you have no idea, like if they're going to jack-up the air conditioning. So even if it's in a place that's a warm environment like Las Vegas or Florida, I always need to bring layers and layers of clothes, because that air conditioning is brutal. Oh my God! So I always bring lots of clothes and you know, a lot of times they have parties and things. So, it's like you wearing one set of clothes while you're at the conference, you want to be comfortable. And then in the evening, they might have some event, they might have a DJ, and a dance floor, and all that kind of stuff…and say, you want to dress differently…you don't want to be in the same clothes putting on your sweatshirt, your hoodie, and then freezing to death and then going outside, and it's like a hundred degrees out. Now you're all sweaty, and then you go back in, and you get all clammy. You know what I mean? So you want to have changes of your clothes. Okay, you get my point. 

I like to fly using airlines where I don't have to pay extra for baggage. Remember those days when you didn't have to pay extra for baggage? Oh my God. I love flying Southwest Airlines because they don't charge extra for baggage. You know, Southwest Airlines, not only can you get cheap airfare, but they are a lot of fun to travel with, and they don't charge for bags. So you get two bags for free, you get two carry-ons, and you get two bags that you can fly with. If you get swag…I always recommend putting an extra bag in your bag for all the swag, and that way you can check two bags when you come back. 

I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I know a lot of people that travel with Alaska Airlines. And if you are a member of Alaska Airlines, and you have their credit card and all that, you get free bags. There are probably other airlines that do this as well. 

But, I'll tell you…you can get cheap airfare, but then by the time you pay for bags there and back, you're spending a lot of money. So you might as well get cheaper airfare through something like Southwest. Here's the caveat though, airlines like Southwest, and Alaska…they may not go to all the places that you want to go to. You might end up having to buy through Delta or American Airlines. Keep that in mind when you're planning a conference. If it's in some place like South Carolina…I went to a conference there…it cost me a fortune. 

And like Nashville, that's another place…like, I can't get there from Portland on a cheap flight…it's going to cost me extra money. Consider that are you going to a hub like Las Vegas that could be super cheap to fly to or are you going someplace like Asheville, that might be more expensive to fly to. 

Those are some considerations when it comes to airfare and bag check.

Now rental cars, car shares, rideshares, all those kinds of things. 

When you're traveling someplace also think about…how are you going to get there from the airport to wherever you're staying. Like, is that going to cost you a lot of money? I always mapped this out before considering going to a conference. Sometimes what they'll do, is they'll say like…it's in Nashville Tennessee, but really it's located in like Franklin, Tennessee, and you're going to have to either rent a car…which I don't drive. I'd have to do like a ride share. That can get really costly. So that could add another like hundred and 20 bucks, round trip to get there. 

So keep that in mind, like where is the conference really located? And is it convenient from the airport for you to go to? I go so far as to map out…is there a subway and public transit that's super easy to get onto? And travel…think about like what time of day that you're flying in. Is it going to be safe? Consider all those different things. 

Now, you can take Uber and Lyft, but remember to actually have those apps on your phone. They don't just show up at the airport. So you have to make sure that you get that arranged. As soon as you come in, start setting them up to pick you up. 

Another alternative is just to make sure that you have a car service waiting for you. But I've run into situations where I have flown into a very big airport and the car that I had set aside had no idea where they were going to pick me up. Make sure that you have a phone number and you can call them. Make sure that they can actually find you at the airport. 

There are also shuttle services. And if you are staying at a place where a lot of the people from your conference are staying at, you might be able to get a shared shuttle that could end up being a lot cheaper. 

Some hotels actually have shuttle services. I would contact the hotel first and see if they actually have a free shuttle that will pick you up at the airport. It doesn't happen too often unless you are staying at a hotel that is super, super close to the airport. 

Then there are the meals, and lodging. So I'm going to tell you some of my tips when it comes to those two things.

Here's the thing with the lodging. Oftentimes, wherever the conference is, they have a deal with either the hotel that they have the conference in or hotels that are close by. They've gotten a deal for like a bank of rooms to get them at a quote-unquote, lower price. 

Here is something that I have found. Those aren't always the lowest cost rooms. I'm going to a conference soon where I'm staying at the same exact hotel as the conference, but I got the rooms cheaper through Booking.com than their bank of rooms. Partly because I'm a Booking.com member and I get a percentage off the very top that ends up being less expensive. 

The other thing I do is, I check to see what the other hotels in the area are charging. If you don't mind taking a short walk, you may actually find someplace that is way cheaper. By walking 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening back. If you don't mind walking, which I love to walk, and it gives you a chance to see the area that you're staying in. You could be paying way less money. 

I use Expedia. So I get Expedia points. I use Booking.com. If you are using those kinds of travel websites, check them first. And going through your airlines, you may actually be able to get a deal…when you go to buy your airfare, get a hotel combined way cheaper. So don’t do that through Expedia, if you do it directly from the airlines. I believe like when you go through things like Expedia, I don't think you can get airfare through Southwest or Alaska. So you have to buy those through their own website. 

Unless things have changed. Make sure that you always check their websites first, before you go through like an Expedia. I have saved so much money doing that. It's like one of the best tips I can give you. 

And if there are no alternatives for lodging, like you're staying at a hotel that's like in the middle of nowhere and there's nothing else around, make sure that the cost of the room is really going to pan out.

The other thing you can do is have a roommate. 

I'm not really a fan of having a roommate. I like to have some downtime…some me time, when I get back to the room. Other people love it. They love having roommates. So if that is you, you can find roommates by posting in the conference Facebook group to find a roommate, or maybe you can have a friend that is going to go with you to the conference.

You can oftentimes stay in a full apartment or loft. And you can split the cost with a roommate

I find places that I can stay that have a kitchen. It could be an Airbnb. You can also find these through like Booking.com. I don't have any affiliate with Booking.com, I'm just saying that one, because I use that one.

Finding a place that has a kitchen oftentimes costs less than a hotel room. Now you're not going to get services, like getting your room clean! But I'll tell you, during COVID, they're not cleaning the rooms anyways unless you specifically ask for it. The kitchen is great, but if there are no supermarkets nearby, then there's like no point. So I always map things out first to see where the closest supermarket is now. I don't want them to have to pay Lyft or all that kind of stuff. I check and see if it is within walking distance. Cause I have a vegan diet. So whenever possible, I always check to see if there's, like a Trader Joe's, or a Whole Foods, close by where I can get some groceries. I map all this out.

If you get a place with a kitchen. One of the best things is you can pack yourself a lunch. Going to conferences and paying for meals…restaurants, that stuff… can get really expensive. I love to pack my lunches. I pack things like carrot sticks and yogurt and those types of things that are easy to pack and will fill me up, and I don't have to pay money to go to some restaurant during the break…which is super great. And if you bring your laptop with you, you can utilize that time to check your email and eat your lunch in the halls at the conference. 

Yes, that's me sitting on the floor with my laptop, eating some carrot sticks, checking my email. So those are some great ways to save some money on the traveling part of it. 

All right. Now when you are at the conference, be very diligent about what you're doing and tracking it. Save your receipts, because you want to make sure when you go to do your taxes that what you were doing was tax deductible…and that's something to talk to your CPA or your tax prepare with…which of these costs you can deduct and which ones you cannot.  

All right. So now we've covered all of the costs associated with going to the conference. Now let's talk about getting some ROI on this thing. I want you to be very intentional with going to this conference to make it worth the time and money. 

How do we do this? Well…if you are planning this out, I want you to have some goals around going to this conference to make sure you get the ROI. Here's the things I recommend. When you go to a conference, don't just glom onto one person. If you go with a friend, be sure that you are actually going to network. I know some people go to conferences, they glom onto one person… or they know that one person… they're like they run into, or they meet one person and then they glom on to them. And then they don't meet any other people. It's okay to have a buddy when you go to a conference, be each other's wing man. But meet other people. Don't just meet the one person and spend your whole time with them. 

That's sort of defeats the whole purpose of going to this conference. You may have made a friend, and that is awesome. But make sure that you have some goals around meeting other people. If you are looking to gain clients, make sure that you are actively talking to people that could be a client. 

I'm not saying like, go up to someone and be like, “you want to be my client?” I'm not saying that at all. I want to make sure though that you are keeping tabs of the type of people that you are meeting. So you don't necessarily have to like look at people and be like, “Ooh, I wonder if they could be my perfect client?” 

Just introduce yourself to lots of people. Go up to groups and introduce yourself. Don't be rude, but just introduce yourself and get to know them. Get their business cards. And you don't want to try to convert someone to be your client right now. You just want to get a sense of who they are. And maybe how you can help them or how you can help each other. 

What I want you to be doing is meeting people and making some genuine interactions with them, and get to know them. I don't worry so much that they're going to be your client or not be your client, or whatever. You're just there to meet people. But you're going to have to meet a lot of people. If you think they're going to end up being your clients because it just doesn't happen that way. And they're not going to be your client necessarily right away anyways. 

So here's what I recommend for meeting people. 

One…have a goal of how many people that you intend to meet each day. Make that goal kind of high. So that way you are not aggressive, but you just are more apt to put your hand out and be like, “Hi, my name is blah, blah, blah.” And introduce yourself. Make a nice goal for yourself that's kind of on the high side, and I want you to track this…to track how many people that you've met in a day. You can do things like get business cards from people…not everyone is going to have a business card these days. But if you do get a business card, I recommend taking out your phone and holding that business card up and taking a picture of that person with their business card. That way you have their name, their business, and a picture, so you can remember who they are. And what I always recommend is, after you've had a conversation with them, take out their business card and when they're gone…write a few notes down, either in your notebook or actually on that business card, as far as who they were, and your conversation. Did they mention liking chocolate chip cookies? Write that down. It doesn't matter what you talked about. Just write it down, so you can actually remember who they were and what was your conversation.

If they are wearing a name badge, take a picture of them with their name badge. People are not creeped out by this. I do it all the time. I'm like, “You know what? I want to be able to remember your name and who you are. I'd like to take a picture of you with your name badge.” Have them hold their name badge out, so you can actually see it, and take a picture. 

Oftentimes the badge has the name of their business or what they do for a living, and that'll give you some insight as well. And then in the evening, when you go back to your room…look them up on LinkedIn, and find them, and be like, “Hey, we met today at the conference.” Send them a little note. They're not going to be creeped out by this, okay? And they are definitely going to accept your invitation, because they've just met you and they remember like, “Oh yeah, she took my picture with my name badge!” Just do that tip number one. 

And then what I would love you to do is track these things. In the ROI Tracking Tool that I would love for you to download. You can keep track of who you met. Did you contact them on LinkedIn? And then what is your correspondence afterward? See if you do actually convert them to being a client over time. Or maybe you have a podcast; maybe you can invite them on to be a guest or vice versa. Or invite them to one of your workshops, all those types of things. 

And then maybe eventually, long down the line, they do become a client. But don't be like, “I'll just keep that in mind,” like, “I'll remember that.” Like, no, no, no, actually track these things. 

Okay. So have a goal, as far as how many people you're going to meet in a day, and then track the people that you do meet. And it's not creepy. Just track it. 

Another way to get ROI, I mentioned earlier…applying to be a speaker. If you can be a speaker at the event. there are some other benefits. One, you'll be able to use this on your social media. So before the conference, they'll oftentimes send you like a little plaque card, that has the name of the event, the official logos of the event, and then it has your picture, and your name on it, saying that you are speaking at that event. This is awesome because now you can use it prior to the event. You can use it on your website. And then once you speak at the conference, oftentimes these days, they will give you a video from the conference, and you can put that on your website.

Now, putting an ROI on this is tricky. But you can track things like when you posted it on social media. What kind of traction did you get? Did you get people asking you about the event? Oftentimes the event will give you an affiliate link that you can give out to people and you can figure out how many people actually clicked on the affiliate links. There are things that you can track. 

Also speaking at the event may lead to other speaking engagements, and you might actually get paid for those speaking engagements. So track that as well. It also gives you the opportunity to do things with other speakers prior to the event, you may be able to meet on a zoom call with the other speakers and get to know them, so that gives you more of an in. 

Track those types of things…who did you meet because you were a speaker? This sounds like it's a lot of tracking. I understand that, but just utilize my tracking tool, and you'll be able to track all of this. Now some of this ROI, it's not going to pay off right away, but while you're at the conference, you might actually get another speaking engagement somewhere else. Be aware of these things. 

Another way to get ROI is to utilize groups. Oftentimes, like I mentioned, a conference will have a Facebook group. Get to know the people that are going to the conference, before the conference. And then that way you start to know people ahead of time. And then when you go to the actual conference, you're like, “Oh my God! So-and-so we've been talking on the DMS for like two months now. It's so nice to meet you.”

It will give you a leg up when you go to a conference because now you've already put in a bunch of work ahead of time to get to know people. You will be able to build relationships before the conference. 

Another way to utilize groups at conferences is…a lot of conferences now have apps that they use where they have the whole schedule in the app. Chances are, in the app, they also have a way to communicate with other conference goers. I get to know other people in the app. Chat in there, post things and that way you start to build rapport with people prior to the conference and at the conference…because people utilize that tool throughout the conference and that way you can get to know people, and if you are going to speak post some questions…you can start chit-chatting with people that will be in your audience before you even speak…then what is super great is when you go to do your speech, some of those people will end up being in your audience, and you can call them out…not in a weird creepy way, but be like, “So-and-so from blah, blah, blah is here. Thank you so much for your question that you posed in the app. Here is my response,” or whatever!

The other thing you can utilize, either the Facebook group for or the app for is to arrange meetups while you're at the conference. Now meetups can be prior to the conference…if you get in a day early…it could be during the conference, like maybe during lunchtime or breakfast…it could even be the last day of the conference. Because a lot of people, depending on their flight, they might have to leave the next day, but there's that whole long afternoon where there's nothing arranged, because the conference is over and people want something to do. And that could be a great time to connect with people and really build a bond with them. That is the time where people are looking for something to do, and you can really connect with them. 

 How do you arrange these meetups? 

Maybe you have a particular topic that has to do with the type of business that you have. You could meet potential clients by posting a meetup around that topic. You can get super specific. If you're not getting a lot of traction on it, then you can kind of change the meetup title or the topics for the meetup. 

But you probably get people that are really eager to do something like this, because it's a chance for them to get to know fellow conference goers and talk about a topic that is near and dear to their heart. If you want to do like a breakfast thing. Okay. That's fine. It could even be like, in the lobby of the hotel. It could be like the bar or the coffee shop, or it maybe in the hall of a conference, or maybe you can talk to the actual people that run the conference and find a place that you can utilize…one of the conference rooms that are not being used during that time period that you can use for free. 

That's another reason why you want to know the people who run the conference, because you can ask them for favors like that. 

If you are in charge of this event, that makes you the expert. So already you've gotten credibility and visibility from putting on a meetup. Another way is going to other meetups. So if you feel a little stressed out by arranging this, go to as many meet-ups as you can, because that's going to give you the chance to get to know people, because meetups are for meeting people and you will meet way more people by doing that. So utilize the meetups. 

All right. So those are some ways that you can get more involved before, during, and after the conference to get to know people that are at the conference that you can potentially have as clients or get to know and build a relationship with

 

The next thing is to add value to other people at the conference. Now you can add value by hosting that meetup, because you've done the legwork and maybe you have some kind of handout that you give to everybody. 

Build some value around it. If you are going to be a speaker, make sure you have something for the audience that they can keep. You may not be able to sell from the stage per se, but you could have a downloadable PDF that they could utilize. That way you get to get their email address and stay in touch with those people that are in the audience, but also you can give value. So develop something that they can keep. 

Now you might have copies…like, if you had a handout, you could give out copies of that to the audience, and it could have your contact information on it. You could also do things like a mailing list where you can mail them out the information. Just some way of giving them value. If you are a speaker, another way you can tell people about your free workshops and give that out to them. I love to make buttons. So I bring buttons of my podcast to conferences. And I carry around, in my bag of buttons, a QR code for my free workshops. When I meet people, they can just take a picture of the QR code and sign up for my free workshop right then while they're talking to me. 

 That could be a value. But if you have something else that you'd like to give out, then go ahead and bring that. 

It could be something that they could use that has your logo on it, like a notebook or something that they can bring back with them that has your information on it. There are all kinds of things out there that you can order ahead of time. 

And you can be really clever about it could be something really fun that has to do with the subject of the conference that makes sense. But make sure that it does make sense. You don't want to be like bringing something that just seems weird and random. Or maybe that is your brand weird and random, and maybe that will pay off for you. Now, keep in mind though, that stuff is going to cost you money. So make sure that you get the ROI on that as well. So if you are handing out things like that, track it and track who you give it to and see if it actually pays off. 

Do they become your friend on LinkedIn? Do they become your client in the future? All of those kinds of things. Now, I'm not saying that you are doing this value just to get something else in return. But you'll never know if you are actually getting a return on that investment unless you track it. 

So again, maybe if you hand a t-shirt to somebody, have them hold up that t-shirt, make sure you can see their lanyard with their name on it, and take a picture of it. Something like that. So you can track it, know like, “Oh yeah, that's the person I gave that t-shirt to. They did become connection with me. I did end up inviting them to a workshop,” all those types of things. 

Now, if you do invite people to workshops, track that. When people come to your workshops that you met at a conference, that is important. That is so key, because they may not have ever come to your free workshop if it wasn't for meeting them at the conference. 

Also give value back in the fact that you want to be interested in what they're doing as well. Right? It's not like, “Oh, it's all me, me, me.” You want to make sure that you're giving value and supporting them, once you get to know them. If you found them on LinkedIn, start looking at their post or commenting on their posts. And give some value back to them. If they have a free workshop, sign up for their free workshop. See how you can help them. And one of the best ways you can give somebody value, at a conference is when you meet other people at the conference, introduce them, to each other. Show that you are a connector. And they will remember that, because you connected those two people together. So if you are hanging out with somebody else and you see somebody that you've met walk by…bring them over and introduce them to this other person. You never know what's going to happen at a conference when you bring people together. And that can be so magical and so rewarding. 

Remember, it's not just about you. It's about everybody, right? It's about giving value to others. Hopefully. I have piqued your interest and going to a live conference. And again, if you're like me, you like to go to several live conferences. Consider the pros and cons of each. 

Especially if they are someplace that you have to fly or drive…travel. Make sure that you’re being very intentional and getting some ROI on this sucker. Okay! All right. Catch you on the flippity flip side. Cue the music.