Plain and simple, traveling for conferences and meet ups come with a cost – and I don’t just mean financially.
The financial investment to attend a conference – including travel, your conference pass and any activities you might end up participating in while at said conference – is definitely worth it.
The people you meet and the relationships you’ll be building – along with the massive spike of incredible knowledge and insights that are shared by speakers and attendees alike – priceless.
But the investment to attend a conference extends much further than just the financial side of things… It also requires that you invest your time, emotions and YOU.
If you’re not careful, this could result in feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and it might even put you behind in your business if you’re not prepared.
We don’t want you to go to a conference only to feel like it has put you behind in your business, and that’s exactly why I’m writing this post: to help you prepare so you can stay afloat while traveling.
Disclaimer: energy required
While John and I both do a really good job of prepping for conferences (if I must say so myself), there’s not a whole lot you can do to prepare for the amount of energy required to go at a conference ALL IN.
While we love every second of interacting with Fire Nation and others who are in attendance – and participating in meetups and talks – it does take a toll. I’ve not realized this quite to the extent that we did in the month of March due to the multiple back-to-back events we committed to.
No serious – we did A LOT in a little amount of time:
March 24: FNE Annual all-day Mastermind
March 25 – 27: Social Media Marketing World
March 28: Podcast San Diego
March 29: Flip Your Nine to Five Live
March 30 – April 2: ICON
SO, in order to help YOU prepare for your next conference or meet up, we thought we’d include some of the steps we take before traveling in order to make sure we set ourselves up for success: at the conference, in our business, and in our selves.
5 Steps to prep for your next conference or meet up
1. Get ahead
The most important step is to get ahead so that you don’t add unnecessary stress or pressure to your plate while you’re away.
What things can you schedule ahead BEFORE you leave so that you don’t have to worry about them while you’re away? These types of things are the ones that help your business run (i.e. things your audience expects from you or that your clients – if applicable – need from you).
Some examples might be:
– Scheduling blog posts
– Scheduling podcast episodes
– Scheduling emails
– Potentially re-scheduling chats or meetings so you’re not “tied” to anything while you’re away
I’m a huge fan of not scheduling ANY meetings or calls while I’m traveling. There’s nothing that will stress me out more than to be worried about being online or on a call at a specific time.
Staying consistent in your business and delivering what you promise your audience and your clients even while you’re away is important, and it’s definitely do-able if you plan ahead.
2. Have a plan
Create a conference plan for yourself so that once you get wherever you’re going, you’re not spending all of your time trying to figure out where you need to be and when.
All it takes is two or three 30-minute sessions BEFORE you leave home to review the conference agenda, choose the sessions you want to attend, and research who you want to connect with while you’re there.
I emailed myself the event schedule I wanted to follow beforehand so that I knew I could easily reference it once at the conference.
Also, make an serious effort to reach out to those who you really want to connect with beforehand so that you ensure you have the opportunity to create that relationship.
It’s not every day we get to meet up in person – make the most of it!
3. Set aside time
There are some things that you simply can’t do ahead of time, like customer service related inquiries, engaging on social media and staying on top of your email inbox (unless you want to put up an away message).
Make sure that you set aside time while you’re traveling to “stay afloat” with these types of responsibilities. This is as simple as waking up 30 minutes earlier, using just one of your breaks in between sessions to “check-in”, and perhaps meeting people out at the end of the day later (instead of going straight from sessions). This will give you a window of time to go back to your hotel room and regroup.
The last thing you want to do is create a pile of work for yourself when you get back home! Trust me: it’s a lot more enjoyable to return home from traveling with a clear head versus coming back to a mess.
4. Go ALL IN
You might be attending 1 conference this year, or you might be attending several. Whatever the case may be, make the most of this opportunity you have to connect, create relationships and LEARN from the leaders in your industry or niche!
If you’re going to be away from your business, and you’ve put in time to take care of steps 1 and 2, PLUS you’ve already invested the money, the time and YOU – you might as well go ALL IN.
5. Live in the moment
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely experienced the anxiety of being at a conference and feeling guilty or wondering “what’s going on in my business right now?“
Trust that because you’ve followed the 4 steps above, your business is JUST FINE.
Live in the moment, because at the end of the day, the experiences we create and the relationships we build are what we’re left with.
If you’re spending your time and bandwidth worrying about “what might be happening“, then you’re missing out on a whole lot that is happening right in front of you.
Soak it all in!
What’s your best prep tip for ensuring you stay afloat while traveling for conferences? Let us know in the comments section below!