“WTF?” is what most of you are thinking from reading that headline. “How could I suck at attending a live event?”
Maybe you’ve even taken it a step further — “Isn’t that impossible to suck at? Show up and attend the seminars… shake hands with people, give them my card. I’m a live event superstar. You suck, Eppie… not me.”
Don’t lie. I know you’re thinking it.
Seriously, You Suck at Attending Live Events
This past weekend, I attended an internet marketing conference — JV Alert Live in Washington DC… and I almost sucked at attending it, too. I almost didn’t sit at the bar instead of attending a session. I almost went to bed early each night so I’d be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when the next day’s events started. I almost missed out on making real relationships.
I’m not saying you should go to an event and blow off all the organized stuff, but I am saying that you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay on schedule.
It wasn’t until 9:00 on Saturday night (I arrived at the conference on Thursday afternoon) that I stopped sucking. That’s when Rick Toone, Larry Tosten, and I started filming Drunk Marketing Tips… and I KNOW that’s when people decided I was someone worth keeping in touch with… because I let loose and started being me. Here’s that video:
I think those videos turned out to be quite funny, but it’s not the quality of the video that matters. I did something memorable with these guys. Working together on something made them memorable to me. It’s the reason I didn’t need to hunt down their names to reference them in the sentence above. We had a blast, and left that conference with a great impression of each other. That’s huge.
Follow Up FTW
So we started with a WTF and now we’re reversing it (double reverse, even?) for the win (FTW). Ira Rosen (super smart and personable dude from Mojo Video Marketing) gave an awesome tip in the Drunk Marketing Tips video about following up with people via video, particularly with great speakers. Killer idea.
Likewise, if you can produce some sort of recap video or an event overview (check out my buddy Tom Harari’s recap post for the NOLA Linklove conference for a text-based example), that will also put you in front of the right people again and leave a GREAT impression.
REMEMBER: You can learn things online, through a book, or a membership site. It’s much harder to forge lasting relationships that way. Live events = relationship starters.