How to Get Better Results from A Conference
6 Must-Have Tools
You Need to Launch Your Podcast
No more confusion on exactly what tools you need to launch your (professional) podcast. I've put together a very clear one sheet which will tell you what equipment and services I recommend if you're seriously about launching a podcast to support and grow your business.
I just returned from Podfest Multimedia Expo in Orlando, FL. This was another incredible gathering of friends and associates who are passionate about bringing their message to the masses through the use of podcasting. This year even included a good amount of teaching and training on the video side of things, making it a true “Multimedia Expo.”
I was honored to emcee the Podcast Launch & Grow Workshop on Thursday where we had close to 100 people, most of whom had never done a podcast but were eager to launch one of their own very soon. We even had a celebrity podcaster who is hosting his own show called From Fear to Courage, American Idol season 3 contestant William Hung. He was very engaged the entire event and incredibly serious about impacting lives as he teaches us to go for our dreams regardless of what others may think. I do plan on having William on an episode of this show very soon.
Going From Consumer to Creator
Being an attendee at any conference is incredibly easy. Just pay the registration fee, show up, sit in the presentations which interest you and take a few notes. Maybe get involved in a few of the social events and trade a business card or two. These kinds of events are incredibly easy for a misfit like me. Most sessions are about 45 minutes max and then it’s off to learn something new. My short attention span loves this kind of set up as it never leaves me bored. I even enjoy the vendor area with all sorts of products and services to potentially distract me during my work days.
This year I wanted to make sure I maximized my conference experience so I took the time to go around to a few of the veterans who were at least somewhat more successful with their businesses than I had been up to this point. I wanted to know if they did something different than I do once a conference is over. What were their immediate actions and were these strategies something I could use to go from Misfit to Millionaire? Here’s what I learned:
Tip #1 - Find Some Solitude
Jemmy first said this in jest (I think) as it was near the end of the conference and about the 37th time, I had come up to talk to her. But as we explored this a bit more we realized this was actually really good advice especially for someone who is normally an introvert like me. Misfits like me are drained in these crowded situations and need some alone time to decompress and re-energize.
Thankfully I had a 2-hour drive home alone which gave me some time to listen to a few of the podcasts I had discovered at Podfest and spend some of it driving in silence. Scientific studies have shown that excessive noise can raise our blood pressure and increase our stress levels and the inverse is true for silence. Just a few minutes of silence will help you decrease stress and lower your blood pressure. These moments of silence also allow us to go deeper into our thoughts beyond the most surface level ideas to something we may have forgotten from the first few sessions of the conference.
Some scientific research is indicating our brain cells are regenerated in the hippocampus region of our brain where most learning takes place. Having just left a conference, you’ve likely overtaxed this region and could use a good amount of regeneration.
A pair of noise-canceling headphones on a flight home or turning off your radio for a portion of your drive home can do a lot to help regenerate your brain and help get your ready to execute on the ideas which are liking overflowing in your conference notebook.
Tip #2 - Sleep On Any New Ideas
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this gem. I'll be honest, I had a bias; I was looking for some sort of action item, not an INaction item, but this is exactly what a Misfit like me has to do in these situations or we’ll quickly find ourselves overloaded with tasks coming out of the all the things we want to immediately implement from each of the speakers. Phew! This was gold for me and Glenn said it was the same way for him. In fact, Glenn said he won’t take action on any item for at least a week after a conference just to make sure it’s something he really wants to implement into his business or life.
I have to admit (and maybe it’s a flaw of mine) there’s no way I can go a week without taking action, but I can certainly take a few days on the ideas before I start filling up my task list. So, figure out what’s best for you and your existing list to determine how long you should be waiting.
Because we Misfits can be quite forgetful people, it’s important you write down all the ideas you would like to implement before giving yourself that downtime to digest it all. Otherwise, you’ll end up coming back after a week and not remembering a thing about what you wanted to do, which wasn’t the intended idea.
Tip #3 - Organize Your Notes
I’m a Misfit, my notes can sometimes be on the back of a vendor brochure or written across 17 different types of paper and using at least 4 pens, a pencil, and sometimes a crayon. This means I get home with a “pile” of notes rather than a binder full of them. The only thing less organized are my receipts from my expenses. In fact, the receipts from Podfest 2017 last year are still among all of the other receipts from last year in a ziplock back inside the cabinet in my desk (at least I haven't lost them).
John Dennis suggests getting those notes organized while they're still fresh in your mind so you can see if something needs to be clarified. Remember, most of these won’t be looked at for quite some time, if ever. The “if ever” part is exactly why John followed that up with the idea to pull out the most important action items from your notes and putting them onto a separate list so you can get them onto your calendar or into your task manager (hopefully you didn’t just say “my what?”).
I do realize this may contradict what Glenn Hebert suggestion above in regard to sleeping on any action items. Truthfully it doesn’t need to be because simply organizing those ideas doesn’t mean you’re reprioritizing projects in your life based on your enthusiasm for these ideas. You can and should still sleep on these ideas first.
Tip #4 - Follow Up Immediately
Even before you leave the conference set aside 30-90 minutes to write an individual email to each person you made a connection with and swapped contact info. PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT mean add them to your email marketing list. In fact, that’s the very last thing you should do, in fact… I’ll go further, it’s not even the last thing, it’s not a thing. You should NEVER do that.
Chris suggests being specific in your response, making sure you mention any details you may have discussed together so they know you have a genuine interest in what they have going on in their life. This can make a world of difference and set you apart from all of the other copy-n-paste emails they’re going to get over the next few days.
To follow-through on these connection set up a call, Zoom, or Skype session with anyone who gets back to you after your initial contact. Chris reminded me to not take it personally if it’s a few days before I hear back from some people as they’re likely traveling, reorganizing themselves, and getting back into the flow of things in their businesses. That can take a few days and even up to a week.
When you do connect, don’t make this a sales call or think of it as an opportunity to pitch your services to them. Instead, find out how you can help them grow their business, launch their podcast, or increase their number of listeners. If you do that, you’ll create so much loyalty you won’t have to pitch anything. They’ll be asking how they can return the favor and even if your service isn’t right for them, they’ll go out of their way to find someone who needs what you have to offer.
Tip #5 - Be a Matchmaker
I didn't expect this response, but knowing James, it fits his heart perfectly. He suggesting looking through your list of contacts in order to find out who you can connect based on need. Hopefully, you spent some of the time asking others what they need in their business to help them reach their goals. Take that knowledge and match them up with someone who could potentially address it.
When you do something of this nature, you not only earn Uber karma points, you exponentially increase the power of the community. There's no way you or any other single individual can engage with everyone in attendance, but if we're all looking for opportunities to find people who may be able to help each other, we'll increase the chances for success. This was an amazing suggestion. Thanks again James.
Ooops! I Messed Up...
As I was standing talking to Glenn Hebert, it dawned on me that I was at a podcasting conference talking to podcasters about the content I wanted for my next podcast and I didn’t have a microphone in my hand. Doh! Had I not already packed up everything I would have taken a moment to grab that equipment and included their actual voices explaining things rather than relying on my Misfit memory to do the job.
If you’re a podcaster, take the time to create a mobile podcasting “jump kit.” That’s something you always have ready so you can just grab it and go without giving it much thought. Always be ready for a great interview.
My First Alcohol-Free Conference
This is the very first conference I’ve attended where I wasn’t at the bar just about every evening after the day’s sessions. This was a game-changer for me, but I realize it’s not something everyone would want to do. So why did I do it?
In 2016, while attending Cole Hatter’s Thrive: Make Money Matter conference in San Diego, CA, I met James Swanwick, the author of The 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge. We talked quite a bit during lunch where he shared how his business life turned-around dramatically after he gave up alcohol. He’s a former on-air talent for ESPN’s Sports Center and a well-known speaker. At the time he was marketing his 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge online program which offers participants daily support on the journey through videos, emails, and a private Facebook group with a very strong and encouraging community.
In late 2016 I was in a place in life with a lot of trauma and struggles due to drug and alcohol abuse among family members. I was coping... or more accurately, escaping this reality through my own alcohol use which included a few cocktails each day and more than just a few on most weekends. I wasn’t proud of where I was with all of that and a had massive urge to change things. I knew it wasn’t good for me but I didn’t think I could cope with what life had put on my lap without having something to numb my system.
In the middle of November of 2016 (yes, just before Thanksgiving and Christmas) I decided I was going to participate in James’ challenge to see if it would help. I intentionally did this before the holidays because I figured “If I can make it through that time, I can make it through anytime.” I was successful with the 30 days and even continued into January and part of February of 2017.
When Podfest 2017 came around on February 23rd in Orlando, I went to the event clean and sharp but agreed I would most likely enjoy a beer or a couple of cocktails during the social events. I didn’t want to feel restricted or awkward around people who knew me to be quite fun when I’ve had a few in me. I even roomed with a recovering alcoholic, not for that reason but just because he was a friend and we both wanted to save on our hotel room. I had every reason to stay on track but instead ended up having my fair share (but never too much thankfully - the 30 days did help).
This year I kicked off my no-alcohol challenge on January 2nd and did it partially to help me lose weight but also because I knew the results I had the prior year and wanted more of those in my life. I knew I’d be more alert, focused, and productive and if there’s anything Misfits like me need more of it's alertness, focus, and productivity. I didn’t promise to do it for any particular amount of time but rather focused on doing it today. I couldn’t ever say what the next day would bring but each day I decided to forgo the booze. I’ve since been told this is how AA does things as well. I can say it’s very effective and I’m continuing it today as I type this (not sure about tomorrow).
I was feeling so incredibly great going into February I knew I didn’t want to depart from the no-alcohol challenge at Podfest. Mind you, I had also been very diligent in my eating habits, completely eliminating sugars, gluten, and most starchy foods. In their place were brain-enhancing natural fats and real foods which have never seen the interior of a factory. I was feeling amazing! I would be confident in saying I've not felt this great in 30 plus year, if ever. My brain-hacking efforts have certainly been paying off.
The Benefits I Experienced
I ate incredibly well and still spent less money than I would have done had I been drinking. Granted, Amanda Lairsey the founder of the Society of Woman Business Owners (SOWBO) insisted on picking up the tab on a couple of occasions, but even if I had paid for my own meals, I would have been much better off financially than any previous conference. One night I skipped the normal 2-3 beers I might have had (which are at least $6 each) and enjoyed a huge ribeye steak instead. The steak was still cheaper than the burger and beers I would have had otherwise.
I was able to be someone else’s hero at the VIP Speaker Meet and Mingle when I offered up my drink tickets to someone I was chatting with who had a beer in this hand. Do you know, as a Misfit who normally uses alcohol to help me relax in these situations, what it felt like to be confident enough to give my crutch to someone else? It was so incredibly empowering and affirmed that I was in more control of myself and my life than I had ever been previously.
I was beaming with confidence the entire weekend because I was highly aware of my surroundings and mentally on-point with what I was saying to people. There was never a moment where I had to pause and wonder “Did I just say something stupid?” For the very first time, I was able to consciously frame the conversation in a way which allowed me to learn more about the person I was talking with and share in areas where I felt they could benefit. Normally, I’m just rambling on in the conversation without any clear direction other than finishing it up as I got to the bottom of my glass.
Ironically, I normally turned to a cocktail or “liquid courage” as a way to artificially increase my confidence and stem any anxiety I may have about talking with people who I saw as being at a level (or several levels) above me. Turns out, having been alcohol-free for the past 5 weeks has allowed me to accomplish more in my business and feel clearer about what I have to offer others. That was the biggest confidence boost I could have hoped to have at Podfest.
Am I Better Than Those Who Drink?
Let me finish this by saying, even though I was eager to share with those who know me, how empowered and sharp I felt in my current state, I was not a zealot. I laughed and had a great time with everyone, those imbibing and those who weren’t. I didn’t want to come off in any way judgmental and that’s still the case at this point. In fact, I made sure I was drinking a club soda with a squeeze of lime so I didn’t look out of place or make anyone else feel odd about me not drinking with the crew.
I do not want you to feel I look at myself in any way superior because I’ve made these choices. I know there are thousands of very successful men and woman who have wonderful lives while enjoying their adult beverages. I just realize, for me, I’m a better and more productive version of ME when I don’t have those energy drains in my system.
As I mentioned, I don’t believe I’m an alcoholic and even though it wasn’t destroying my life and relationships, it wasn’t allowing me to perform at an elite level which is where I want to be at any given time. I don’t know how long I’ll be staying alcohol-free, but I do know I won’t be having anything tonight and most likely tomorrow. Beyond that, who knows.
I plan on going deeper into this subject in a future episode, so if you’re curious about how skipping alcohol can help you reach your goals and achieve your dreams much sooner than before, be sure to subscribe in iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts.