Getting the most value out of an in-person event?
Going to an event offers too many opportunities for business leaders to pass up.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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- Kevin Dieny’s LinkedIn
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- CXL Live Conference
- B2BMX Marketing & Sales for B2B Conference
[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hi, welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. Thank you for listening, my name is Kevin Dieny, I’m your host. Today, we’re gonna be jumping into the topic of how to get the most value out of an in-person event? So, how do you go about getting that value? How do you go about maximizing your time spent away from the office away from work, whatever it is at an in-person event.
[00:00:20] Kevin Dieny: Right? So this is often a, sort of a, sometimes hotly debated topic with employees who want to go to events, maybe some who really don’t wanna go to event. Don’t see why there’s a point to going. Some people are just not interested. Other times, it’s hard to see the value in events. I think because, uh, the way they’re structured, the way they’re laid out, the types of experiences that maybe events used to have, some of them are different than others.
[00:00:46] Kevin Dieny: There’s actually quite a lot of variety in the types of events that you can attend. So we’re gonna dive into all of that, but essentially we’re gonna focus. In person, non virtual, the actual in person event style. Right? So we’re not gonna talk about webinars or anything like that. We want to focus on how do we get the most value out of those types of events, where we’re gonna be going in.
[00:01:06] Kevin Dieny: Now there’s things like trade shows, right? Where maybe the public attends as well. Maybe there’s a lot of, a lot of selling going on on the floors of these types of events. Those are maybe a little different than what I’m focusing on here. I’d like to focus specifically. On the types of educational based events, right?
[00:01:26] Kevin Dieny: So industry types of events, events, where your company along with maybe lots of other companies, just like you you’re representative of your company, or you’re representing your team or your function, your role. The types of struggles and problems you have are sort of supplied by this event, whatever it is, right.
[00:01:44] Kevin Dieny: That is the type of event that I’m talking… Want to talk about. So those types of events, I like to call educational events, right. So how are we gonna get the most value out of an educational type, uh, event? And that’s the types of events. I think that are sometimes the hardest to see the value in. And that’s why I like to focus on this.
[00:02:03] Kevin Dieny: Um, if there’s any other type of event, right? It, it would just be easier to see the value in those events, cuz they’re either more sales related, more aligned to finding your customers at the event, anything like that. So let’s say you’re going to an in person event as an. You’re not sponsoring it, right?
[00:02:20] Kevin Dieny: You’re not, you don’t have a booth. You don’t have a, a section, a quarter, an area you don’t have your brand’s logo or anything like that. Maybe, maybe you have some low level, uh, sponsorship to be able to attend, but it’s not like you’re attending to sell to your customers at this event. You’re going, because you wanna learn, you want education and you want networking.
[00:02:41] Kevin Dieny: So I see value from events like this. If we focus on it as what kind of, how do we get the most value out of an event? I like to focus on there’s two types of values. All right. The first one I believe is definitely educational. The second value I think you get out of in person events is the networking.
[00:03:01] Kevin Dieny: So your community, your connections, you know, anything like that. So let’s focus on let’s, let’s kind of dive into the first one here, which is education. So let’s say there’s an industry event and you’ve decided, Hmm, I don’t know if I wanna go to this. Why pitch me? Why I should go to this? Right. Well, first I’d say, well, not every in person educational event is the same, right?
[00:03:24] Kevin Dieny: Some of them are done really well and some of them are not. So there’s a few things you may want to consider. how do I know an event’s gonna be great or not a few things you could look at is, do you know anyone who’s been before? If it’s the first time going to something like this, maybe ask someone who, you know, has gone before.
[00:03:42] Kevin Dieny: If you don’t know anyone who’s gone before, then it’s a little dicier. Right. And it’s like, okay, well, how do I know? Well, there’s a few things, right. There’s okay. What are the topics going to be that are gonna be discussed at this event? Right. Or any of them relevant to me? Right. So something. It’s easy to run into for an industry event is you go there and you’re like, all right, great.
[00:04:01] Kevin Dieny: They’re they’re gonna help my company, my industry that I’m in. And you realize this is only for the big guys, you know, so you kind of wanna make sure they’re catering to the type of business you are as well. And that should show up in the language. Uh, usually every event that I’ve ever seen has sort of a who’s this event.
[00:04:21] Kevin Dieny: right. Who should be attending this event? That that should be fairly obvious. Most events have a webpage or some sort of a, an article or something written on a website that describes here’s the event. Here’s what it’s for. Um, some of them come as part of your membership in a group, right? Uh, let’s say the group’s like, well, we meet in person these times a year.
[00:04:38] Kevin Dieny: You can choose to come. Maybe you want to come to one. That’s more local. There’s a lot of ways I think to diagnose. Okay. What’s the quality of the topic? Is it hitting my specific business? Not just my industry. Uh, what, what about the speakers? Who are they? Are they speakers that I’d say you could probably learn something from, are they reputable?
[00:04:58] Kevin Dieny: Do they have a good background? Do they, could they know what they’re talking about? Another concept to consider is okay. Are are they gonna be. Pitching and selling to me every second of my day at this event, uh, even in person educational events have quite a bit of let’s call it selling. Uh, when I looked up this online, a lot of people were like, I just feel like I’m fish in a giant shark tank.
[00:05:23] Kevin Dieny: that go to one event, which I could totally see why, uh, most events have like a, an, a sponsor floor or a marketplace or a venue vendor offering area. And look at that a little bit like that’s unsatisfactory, or I’m not happy about being sold to, I hate being, I hate seeing, you know, all these vendors and they’re all looking for me and wanting me to come by their booth or their area to talk to them.
[00:05:48] Kevin Dieny: Or they’re constantly harassing me, try to look at it a little differently. Right. So yes, the vendors are there and they really want you to talk to them, but they really are only looking for people to. So think about it like that. I’ve been to a lot of vendor booths and been like, Hey, look, I see what you do.
[00:06:07] Kevin Dieny: Here’s my problem. Is that something that can be helped? And a lot of ’em wanna just say, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We, we can help anyone, but it’s not really true. Right. If you have Ave a really quality vendor floor experience is when you go, Hey, look, here’s my situation. Can you help me? And they’ll go, you know, I don’t think we can, or me, they go, you know what?
[00:06:25] Kevin Dieny: We totally can. Here’s how we would. Here’s how it would kind of look. And if you don’t feel confident about it, if you walk away, it’s not, you know, it’s not that bad for them to send you an email after you say, you know what, I’m just not interested or unsubscribe from it or whatever. So while yes, being sold to feels uncomfortable.
[00:06:42] Kevin Dieny: I would say the potential to find a solution to a problem you have, that you may feel, you know what I’m I could figure this out, but there might be a better way. Can you keep your options open? Are you willing to see if there are ways to solve this? You may not know of also a lot of times vendors that are at a specific industry event have quite a lot of experience with your industry.
[00:07:07] Kevin Dieny: So if there’s ones you haven’t heard of, or there’s something there that you didn’t realize existed, you might be, I think it’s worth one. It’s worth checking out and figuring out, you know, who are you? What do you do? You’re interviewing the vendors as much as they’re trying to pitch you. So, um, that one’s a little, I that’s one where I totally understand.
[00:07:27] Kevin Dieny: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of an, a in person educational type of event that had no vendors. I think typically. The event wants them to be there because they know that some people get a lot of value out of having those good communications, maybe meeting their vendor in person for the first time, uh, is valuable.
[00:07:45] Kevin Dieny: So I wouldn’t discount that as like a so negative as much as, as widely as it is viewed as like a problematic aspect of attending events. The other thing that comes up a lot is. And this is more recent, right? This is more in like the last three years. This is our in person event safe. Or should we just always have virtual events, like webinars on demand, videos, recordings of the speakers.
[00:08:10] Kevin Dieny: You know, a lot of times a speaker will come up, talk at an in person event and afterward you get their talk recorded in a video anyway, you know, or you get what they said, you get everything that they were offering. They, some conferences or events have like a virtual path. right. Because some people aren’t comfortable meeting in person.
[00:08:27] Kevin Dieny: So picks question are in person events, even warranted, are they needed? Cause they’re costly. You know, the space, the area. Do people really feel that strongly about meeting in person that they can’t get the same value from a virtual or, or, or other type of, um, meeting type of event. And I’d say in there’s something special, there’s something extraordinarily valuable about an in person event.
[00:08:52] Kevin Dieny: And, the in person part is critical because when you’re surrounded by people who are just like you or in a similar industry as you, or similar role, or trying to solve the same problem as you, that’s so valuable, not just networking with them, but learning from them, there’s almost always Q and a in session.
[00:09:12] Kevin Dieny: And they usually edit those out of those videos that you see. There’s also a lot. Interesting experiences that occur can occur only when you’re there. You’re gonna, you’re gonna eat lunch. You’re gonna eat snacks. You’re gonna, you know, be walking or roaming the halls of some event you’re gonna be taking break.
[00:09:29] Kevin Dieny: There’s a lot of opportunity to just be around and soak up the energy of these people and feel like, okay, if it’s a real struggle, is everyone else really feeling that struggle too? That’s always really interesting. Then there’s the networking part of it, you know, which I’ll get into in a little bit, but that is so valuable.
[00:09:46] Kevin Dieny: So immensely important to have as well to have that, I would say confirmation that. You’re not the only one. Like how good does it feel to know, okay. I’m not the only one struggling with this problem. You know, whether it’s hiring marketing strategy, business, finance, you know, securing equipment, getting, um, insurance, whatever it is, right.
[00:10:08] Kevin Dieny: Every business has some struggle in an industry. It’s really nice to see this is confirmed, right. And be able to talk to people. And usually the speakers even. You can talk to them. Every event I’ve been to after the speaker talks, there’s almost always a little bit of time. You can go up and say, Hey, can I, you know, ask this question or can I connect with you after?
[00:10:27] Kevin Dieny: Or, or I love what you said about this, but I have a question, you know, . What do you think about, what do you think about X, Y, Z, those opportunities that an in-person event offers sometimes eclipse, anything a virtual event can do. So I, I don’t think it’s enough to say virtual event should never exist. I think everything has a place, but there’s something very special about a whole bunch of people willing to get in a flight or travel and go to an in-person event to get value out of it.
[00:10:54] Kevin Dieny: There’s something really unique and special about that. It’s like a movie on opening. right. filled with fans of people of that, you know, movie type. If it’s like a star wars movie that opening night is pretty. Second part of what I wanted to talk about in terms of value, right? Um, the first part’s education, so you’re gonna learn.
[00:11:14] Kevin Dieny: The second part is networking. Now. Networking has its own slate of problems. I think it’s closer to what people fear and dislike the most about events. They could say, oh, I don’t like being sold to, but I think more often than not. Deep down. People are like, Ugh, I don’t want to have to meet other people. I don’t wanna have to have conversations with strangers or, or feel like I have to be extroverted for a while.
[00:11:41] Kevin Dieny: I don’t know about having, you know, what am I gonna say? What am I do? Walk up to a complete random person say hi, I’m Kevin. You know, nice to meet you. Like that can be awkward. There’s could be a circle of people talking. Are you gonna break that, you know, circle and walk in there and say, hi, can I join your conversation?
[00:11:58] Kevin Dieny: feels a little bit awkward. So that horrible, awkward social aspect to networking is not something that I think anyone has a CR like a, a silver bullet fix for , there’s some events that definitely make that easier. They say, okay, here’s a networking time. Here’s a specific open bar, or here’s a restaurant, or here’s an activity we’re gonna do where we’re going to put people together and make it easier to break the ice.
[00:12:25] Kevin Dieny: You know, icebreakers is the way to. the other thing you can to remember is at an event, people are gonna be being like, Hey, who are you? How are you? You know, what do you work for? What do you do? Tell me a little bit more about your company that’s to be expected. And it’s okay. I think, to, to be uncomfortable and awkward about it, even saying I’m uncomfortable about asking this, but, you know, cause I’m not great in a social situation, but you know, I’d like to hear more about what you do.
[00:12:53] Kevin Dieny: Oh, I’ve heard of your company. Can you tell me more about, I haven’t heard about your company, so tell me what you guys do. That’s usually what I do and helps me, uh, cuz I’m not the most outwardly outgoing social person at an event. And I like to take my time and figure out, oh, you know, this looks like a good opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and start having those networking conversations with people cuz they’re brutal.
[00:13:17] Kevin Dieny: Right? So now networking. I think the biggest reason that it’s valuable is that you’re building connections and rapport with people who are not only just in your industry, right? I’m not saying that they’re gonna be customers, but they can be resources. Also having a conversation with someone validates often what you think, what you believe it can help you.
[00:13:41] Kevin Dieny: I’ve had lots of conversations at events where people say, this is how I solve this problem. When I ask them more about it. And I realize, wow, that could really help. Some of ’em may say, Hey, yeah, let’s connect after this event. You know, this is only, these are only supposed to be like brief 15 minute conversations sometimes, which are very, I would say they’re not, not like you’re establishing friends for life, but these are work related connections and networking that maybe you can help them and they can help you.
[00:14:08] Kevin Dieny: It’s incredible. The value you can get out of con having a conversation with somebody and. Seeing, wow. I, I really helped them or I got a lot out of that too feeling. Wow. I feel great. Like I just talked to someone about this issue and like, those things struggles that I’m dealing with are real and tough and difficult and they recommended I try this and I think that’s a good idea.
[00:14:32] Kevin Dieny: Now at, within both value areas, there’s this need. I think to remember the conversations, remember the things the speaker said, right. To sort of have this take notes point. Now, I don’t think you’re gonna be talking to someone and taking notes, you know, from what they said, uh, the, the closest I ever came to that was someone gave me a bunch of really interesting insights.
[00:14:55] Kevin Dieny: And right after I talked to them, I pulled out my notebook and wrote them down. I don’t wanna forget. Right. Or they gave me a website, they say, Hey, can you write this down? I’ll pull out my notebook. So having a notebook, being able to write your session notes, your networking notes, anything like that is huge.
[00:15:11] Kevin Dieny: I think bringing a notebook, being prepared for an event is a big deal. And I, and by that, I mean, what do you bring? How do you, what do you do before an event to make the event more successful? Right. So the things you bring, I think for sure is like a notebook pens, a business card. I think you also should consider any sort of water or amenities or packaging, maybe a laptop.
[00:15:36] Kevin Dieny: How much do you wanna work at the conference while you’re there? You may want to make sure that you’re dressed, you know, in a professional manner, you may want to look a certain way. You also may want to be mindful of the type of venue. The venue is where an event is located. So if it’s in a snowy cold place, if it’s in a rainy place, a hot environment, if it’s, you know, I mean, perfectly AC cooled all day, uh, where if you’re staying at the venue, you’re staying at a venue, a nearby place, nearby hotel or something.
[00:16:05] Kevin Dieny: All those are are also worth preparing for. It’s kind of uncomfortable to be lugging around a suitcase between sessions or at an event you kind of wanna be free. You want your hands free. You want to be able to talk. You might, I always bring like a, a bag. Uh, holds usually my laptop and my notebook and everything else.
[00:16:22] Kevin Dieny: I could put it all away, sling it over my shoulder and my hands are free every time. That’s, that’s my way of doing it. There’s also a lot of people I’ve seen who literally bring nothing and they just soak up everything they learn. They don’t write anything down. And if that’s your style, I mean, maybe that works for you.
[00:16:38] Kevin Dieny: Uh, some people Lu between their sessions or the venue and back to their hotel room to drop off, you know, swag or whatever. They, they get any sort of. Uh, notes. They have, they may want to go back and put it. I’ve also seen a lot of times people are at an event, but they’re working every minute that they’re there at the event, which is unfortunate, I think, cause you’ve flown all this way or you travel this far and you’re at this event, uh, it’s difficult to get away, to tear away from work for a little while and be able to attend an event and soak up.
[00:17:08] Kevin Dieny: Knowledge the thing is though even the most extreme events have breaks and periods. And I think that’s what that that’s better time management is to use those breaks and stuff for, for handling most of the day to day or, or hour to hour type work when it is an emergency I’ve seen P I I’ve even had to bolt out of a session because of, uh, you know, emergency, but generally speaking, they they’re it’s that don’t happen.
[00:17:33] Kevin Dieny: It’s not that hardcore and. Being able to get away from work even for a little while, like sure. It’s a, it’s not really a vacation because you’re, you’re still in work mode. You’re still making sure. You’re learning and you’re, you’re improving what your business is gonna be all about. You’re trying to learn the latest trends and strategies.
[00:17:52] Kevin Dieny: And so you, you wanna be able to go to an event and get that value out of it, if you’re planning on going there, but you’re gonna work the whole time. I don’t know if you’re gonna get the educational side value out of, you know, attending or even the social networking side. So how do you get the most outta the education?
[00:18:05] Kevin Dieny: Right. Okay. When you’re preparing, when you’re bringing your notebook, when you’re taking some notes, jotting down, some thoughts, those are really key preparation things you can do to so that you maximize what you’ve learned. Your takeaways. Someone may say one sentence. Some speaker may say one sentence and you go, wow, that’s gonna change my business.
[00:18:28] Kevin Dieny: That one thing they said, they pointed out and you wanna make sure you remember that what they said, what the context was, you know, if it was a specific number, I remember hearing someone say, you know, some crazy, like 80%, 90% kind of stat. And I, and I heard that and went. That is amazing. Where did they get that stat from?
[00:18:49] Kevin Dieny: And then I wrote it down. Here’s the stat find out where this is from cuz this is, if this is true, this is a big deal. Things like that happen. They’re sort of like, wow, earth shattering one sentence, one liners. that speakers can say that you go, whoa, like that just made this whole event worthwhile or you meet someone and you go, wow.
[00:19:06] Kevin Dieny: I just met. You know, like a role mall or met someone, who’s got these amazing ideas. This could revolutionize my business. That’s just one connection, right? It can all boil down to just one single experience that brings the, that value of the event. Overshadows your loss of time at work, the cost and expensive getting there.
[00:19:28] Kevin Dieny: And also just the inconvenience of, of, you know, going somewhere totally different or totally new. Um, that’s. Quickly the value can add up for an in-person event. So we’ve talked about prep being prepared, you know, the preparation, making sure that you’ve evaluated an event ahead of time. That’s another preparatory thing you can do before you even pay to go.
[00:19:49] Kevin Dieny: Some of them, you go, you can go, they have attendance for the events free either cuz membership or you get a pass or someone wants you to attend. And so they, you know, get you there. Um, oftentimes your hotel, your travel, your meals, um, your transportation stuff. Like that’s not. So I would budget for all those things and make sure you’re aware that intending an event is not just like.
[00:20:11] Kevin Dieny: All inclusive. Some, some, some few handhold, some few like events, few of them can be all inclusive. You go, the event pass is the hotel, the transportation, the meals, the food you’re there. It’s like a resort. Some of them are totally like that. And for a reason, right. They want you to not have to think about that and worry about that and make that part of the experience covered.
[00:20:36] Kevin Dieny: The other thing. More on the networking side is your behavior I haven’t seen any extremely unprofessional stuff happen at an event, but I have seen some pretty interesting mornings. So some events have like a nighttime networking get together and I’ve seen some pretty wild stuff there. And I’ve seen some pretty interesting stuff the day.
[00:20:59] Kevin Dieny: Um, people let loose, people want to have fun. So yes. Have fun. Like definitely check out the venue, the area around it, going to an event should build, be a positive experience for you for work. And for you personally, like what can you, how can, if you decided I’m gonna get the most out of this. You know, personally, what would that be?
[00:21:19] Kevin Dieny: You might say, well, I’m gonna eat well while I’m there. I’m gonna exercise. I’m gonna, I don’t know, visit some sites. I’m gonna check out the area. I’m gonna spend some time walking around, outside, whatever it is. There’s some good fun to be had. And there’s actually some fun to be had some times during the night parties, there are the nightlife of the events.
[00:21:37] Kevin Dieny: These are still like potentially future coworkers or colleagues, or it is, there is a possibility that you could say something political or something a little off, or you could be, you know, not a hundred percent there and that could lead to bad things. So I would say an in-person event raises the risk of there to be.
[00:21:58] Kevin Dieny: Odd things that happen, uh, behaviors that are interesting. So many, you may say, wow, they’re a, they’re a straight arrow. When I see them, , you know, online or on webinars or I read about them, but in person they’re just so goofy and so fun. It’s so interesting. And those are the types of experiences you get in at an in-person event because.
[00:22:16] Kevin Dieny: These you’re gonna see people who are not always gonna be in work mode. They’re gonna be able to shed that and need to see them on a personal level. And that sometimes builds a better connection and a better networking opportunity than anything else. So a lot of times the people from the vendors will go to some of these night, uh, activities.
[00:22:34] Kevin Dieny: And you get to see them just as people. And that’s really interesting people, vendors, you may have never, again, you’ve never met in person. You get the opportunity to meet in person, which I think is very valuable. And I think one of the other aspects that I, you know, wanna talk about is how do you handle.
[00:22:54] Kevin Dieny: How do you balance everything? Right? So I got, I gotta learn a lot. I gotta network, but I also have work. I may need to be doing in between. I’ve got logistics traveling around, like this can be, this can feel like a lot. We’re putting a lot on you to get the most value out of an event. So is it, does it take a lot of work to get a lot out of an event and I’d say no.
[00:23:17] Kevin Dieny: You know, you do a lot of preparation beforehand. Okay. How am I gonna get there? What am I gonna do? Okay. Plan out some sort of a schedule and make sure everything works out. Then you don’t have to worry about it. Then when you’re there, you just, you know, follow the schedule. Also, a lot of some events, a lot of events have what are called tracks.
[00:23:34] Kevin Dieny: So it’s common at bigger events, but a session track is usually when there’s gonna be multiple speakers that speaking at the same. There are a lot of events that have just one speaker, you know, that everyone’s listening to others. Types of events may have one speaker sometimes, and then they may have 2, 3, 4, 5 up to 10 speakers.
[00:23:55] Kevin Dieny: Sometimes the usually really large events have these multi speakers at the same time. And so they say, well, Okay. Everyone wants to attend all of them, but you can’t. So which one do you, are you, do you wanna attend? Which one can you pick? And you want to pick the sessions that again are gonna be relevant.
[00:24:13] Kevin Dieny: Look at the speaker, look at the topic. Look at the description of that event to see, okay. Is this, is this, you know, interesting to me, is this gonna be worth it? If you have a pick a four or five, then even then great, you can pick. Hmm. Which one seems the best. And attend the ones that seem the most relevant that seem like the speakers the best and try to get the most out of it.
[00:24:33] Kevin Dieny: Uh, it’s maybe ask a few people, well, what are you attending? It’s a great conversation for networking, right? What sessions are you going to next? And just ask and you know, that way you can figure out, wow, they’re all going to this one. And I was gonna go to something different. Maybe I should change my mind.
[00:24:48] Kevin Dieny: Cuz there seems to be something interesting about this speaker or, or this topic, uh, that happens a lot. And so for multi-session like track based events, that’s something worth considering. And so you can usually prepare ahead of time too and figure out what track, what sessions you’re gonna attend. So you don’t have to worry about it when you’re at the event, put it this way.
[00:25:09] Kevin Dieny: You wanna be thinking of nothing. Hardcore, nothing stressful. You wanna just be having a nice, fun time getting as much education as you can, networking with people and leave everything else as second. Right. Work comes up, stuff like that. Uh, if you have anything, you learn, put it in your notes, write it down.
[00:25:28] Kevin Dieny: So we don’t have to try to remember, you know, you want to keep your mind open to the possibilities opportunities, networking, keep it sort of free and keep it light. Um, now if you go to an event you may ask, okay, wait, wait, wait. They’re speakers, their sessions, maybe tracks. Why do I care about speakers and sessions?
[00:25:48] Kevin Dieny: Maybe you’re just all about networking, which is, which is definite. I like, again, networking is probably, and sometimes more valuable than the sessions. I, I would say me personally, I prefer the networking side of events to the educational. Just because I’ve realized how valuable networking can be. Um, the other, so to answer that question, right?
[00:26:09] Kevin Dieny: Why do I care about the speakers in sessions? I just go to the event for the networking with vendors. good question. So speakers. Their topics, their what they’re trying to speak on and talk about what the sessions are all focused on, should align with what the event is trying to achieve. Some events are like, we’re all about leads, right?
[00:26:30] Kevin Dieny: Some of them are like, we’re all about this industry. So you would expect, okay, this a whole event is framed around this industry, or, you know, some goal that the sessions are all gonna be about that too. Hopefully again, the quality of an event may vary that. Speakers and their topic should be aligned with something that you should find interesting.
[00:26:54] Kevin Dieny: I’ve heard people say, well, they’re not gonna say anything. I don’t already know. Which is I think a little hubris, maybe a little prideful, because there’s a lot, there’s a reason they’ve been selected as a speaker. There’s a reason that their topic was chosen and that they have the opportunity to speak.
[00:27:11] Kevin Dieny: There’s often a lot of times speakers who are so renowned for not just their speaking ability, but for their knowledge and the ability to grasp like a needed topic at this point in time, it might be for you like, gosh, I’ve heard them say this over and over again. I. I know what they’re gonna say, but how it’s said or what they’re gonna say may not always be exactly what you think.
[00:27:33] Kevin Dieny: There might be an interesting new way, new spin on how this is being solved. And the point of it is to save you the time of figuring it out yourself. That’s it really, this is put a, it as simply as we can. The educational side of a conference in person educational event. Is to save you time from learning it yourself.
[00:27:56] Kevin Dieny: You know, a topic could be leads and you go, well, I already know how to get leads. And they go, well, here’s some interesting, cool ways to get leads. We didn’t know of that are very effective. That are cheap, that are efficient. That will work for a while. We figured this out, like, this is how you do it. You may go.
[00:28:12] Kevin Dieny: Wow. Okay. That is interesting. I’ll give that a try. And if you think about it, well, what, what would it have taken for me to do all that myself without having been told all this interesting stuff and it might be like, well, it might have been six months down the road before I figured that out. So this just saved you six months of time.
[00:28:28] Kevin Dieny: From learning, exploring, figuring that out and then applying it and then struggling through it. You just got the quick six months turbo track on learning something that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. And how valuable is that, you know, that could be immensely powerful for your business. So if you go to an event, you should come back with the education, you should frame it as like the years of time, it would’ve taken me to learn this myself or months or whatever it is.
[00:28:54] Kevin Dieny: Right. That’s how I like to look. Let’s shift the gears toward the networking side. Again, let’s say you’re on a networking hour. Okay. You have an hour and it’s all dedicated to networking. There’s a sea of strange people out there. , there’s a bunch of people you’re uncomfortable about walking up to maybe there’s groups, circles, you know, they’re already big enough.
[00:29:14] Kevin Dieny: There’s just lots of people there. So how do you figure out who you’re gonna talk to? you know, who should you talk to? Who should you network with? What should you look for? That’s? Mm, I wish sometimes in-person events did this better. There’s one event I attended who did this, so well, we filled out a questionnaire before the in-person event and it said it asked things like, okay, you know, more specifically, what are your struggles?
[00:29:39] Kevin Dieny: What are your problems? What are you, are you struggling with any of these areas? How, what kind of clients are you looking for? Customers? Are you looking for what size. And type of customer. Are you looking for most? Um, are you, are you having struggles in any of these areas or are you successful in any of these areas?
[00:29:54] Kevin Dieny: And after we filled that out, they used that to group us, right? The attendees into groups. When I met the other members of my group during a networking, like a, sort of a more structured version of a networking activity, we all met as groups. And in that group, they said, you’re in a group of people who are a lot, like you like a homogenous group of people who are struggling, or they have the similar, they’re a similar company as you, they have similar customers as you, there’s a lot similar about them.
[00:30:23] Kevin Dieny: And that’s why we put them in groups. And so we were out of our comfort zones all together in this group. And it was a great way for us to say, okay, Let’s talk about this. So let’s, you know, dive into what, what are we struggling with? And we all found, yeah, we all had the same kind of problem and it made the conversation so much better.
[00:30:44] Kevin Dieny: I really enjoyed that. The, I love the unstructured, uh, networking too, but a structured networking is so good and I love it so much because I’m just not. I’m not great at being able to look at a person and go, oh yeah, I should talk to them without knowing anything else. So that’s why it’s, I would say it’s really difficult to look into a sea of people and go, I should talk to him, him and her.
[00:31:06] Kevin Dieny: Right. That’s not, that’s not usually likely usually end up in a circle. You start talking and you realize hopefully quickly, this is a group that’s gonna, you know, that’s good for me. Or if not, you go. You know what I gotta go over here. and so you try to find a different group. Um, that’s tough. That’s really tough.
[00:31:23] Kevin Dieny: So that’s why a little bit more structured, uh, types of networking. I tend to prefer, cause I usually walk away with three or four amazing connections from a more structured networking type of activity like that. Let’s look at it from a slightly different perspective for a second, the vendors, right?
[00:31:39] Kevin Dieny: Sponsors um, again, we talked earlier about how, like, it might be necessary evil. There’s still value. I think from meeting a sponsor or a vendor for the first time in person, aside from that, why do events have sponsors? Right. So events are expensive, like mentioned virtuals event. Events can still be costly too, but an in-person event, you have to, you know, way ahead of time, you have to scope out the venue.
[00:32:03] Kevin Dieny: You have to make sure that the conference rooms, the speaking hall, the vendor areas, everything complies with what you need. It takes a lot to pull off an event. I. I have a ton of respect for that marketer who, who has figured out how to make an event feel sort of seamless, cuz that is so hard. Something always goes wrong all the time and it’s so difficult.
[00:32:30] Kevin Dieny: So that brings up the cost, right? And they sort of have to pass that cost on to the attendees and they may not make a huge margin or any margin on an event. It may be more about bringing people. But they still need, they still can’t be a huge windfall problem of cost. So how do they recuperate that?
[00:32:54] Kevin Dieny: Right? The attendee they wanna make the attendee rate low. So that it doesn’t feel like only the big boys can show up. They want companies who they want to help, who are in that position to be helped the most, to be able to afford to come. They don’t want you to go man, 300 bucks it’s too much, or, you know, $15,000 to attend this event’s too much.
[00:33:15] Kevin Dieny: Uh, they, they want you to feel like, yeah, this event. You know the cost. I understand it, it, it shouldn’t fall outside of like extreme, like comfortable range. Some of them are much more expensive and it may, may be hard to see why was this, why is this event so expensive? Am I really gonna be able to get that much value out of just going for a few days or whatever it is, but that’s why sponsors exist.
[00:33:36] Kevin Dieny: Right? That brings down the cost. so that you can attend that most more attendees can attend. There’s also a nice balance of ha not having too many attendees that it’s just like a billion PE feels like a billion people are there. for Salesforce Dreamforce. They shut down practically all of San Francisco.
[00:33:57] Kevin Dieny: When that, when that event hit, kicks off and it’s a big. Big massively attended event. Uh, it’s also not cheap. Salesforce is just big, right? So , that’s a type of event. There’s just so many people, that’s a different field and a more intimate event where it might be just, you know, 20 people or 15, 10 people a meet up.
[00:34:18] Kevin Dieny: It could also be, you know, a few hundred people, but not feel like it because the way the venue is laid out. So sponsors are there for a reason. Is it valuable to sponsor events? I think so, because. Your brand recognition at these types of events goes a long way and the types of in person events that people want to go to, they have respect for.
[00:34:39] Kevin Dieny: So I would say that’s probably a pretty good opportunity. Um, novel events are the same, like I just mentioned. Dreamforce is humongous. It’s mega mega time. It’s like pretty much borderline trade show. Another thing that changes events drastically is the venue, the type of venue. It is other things about it is like how, you know, when they meet, I know some events that are like only half days because they want you to get out and explore and have some good personal experiences.
[00:35:05] Kevin Dieny: Some of them are hybrid in terms of, in person and virtual. Like they may have virtual and then in person. There’s a lot of different types of events. So they’re not the same. Some of them are, are done more seamlessly than others. And yeah, at the end of the day, I think you gotta, you gotta gotta figure out like, you know, how am I going to maximize my time and get the most value out of this event?
[00:35:28] Kevin Dieny: And this is just a bunch of stuff for you to kick around. You can go with other people, you can go alone, you know, there’s no problem. It’s not like going to the movies and has this, uh, Like weirdness or going out to dinner by yourself, has this weirdness or, or feeling, or, you know, it has this idea that those are only the loaners , uh, at events a lot, or if not, most of people who are going are alone, there’s still lots of times companies will send two people together or three or four, and there’s group rates for events most often.
[00:36:00] Kevin Dieny: And they could save that way and everyone, you know, can tend and some people go into different track sessions and all that’s fun is going on. That’s that’s good too. I would say don’t let anything keep you from attending otherwise valuable event because you have some slight hesitation about it. Uh, take a stab at it until you’ve had the experience of going and attending something or going alone or going with a group.
[00:36:24] Kevin Dieny: I wouldn’t discount that there’s still value to, to be had there. And. The end of the day, you’re gonna have to decide, is it worth it? Okay. It’s gonna cost me this much for the ticket. I gotta get the hotel. It’s this much right now, the flight. Okay. I’m, you know, leaving my work for a while, leaving my home life here for a while, whatever it is, maybe it’s just a drive every day.
[00:36:45] Kevin Dieny: But if it’s a flight and a hotel, there’s a bit to consider there and you want to be able to come back with a lot of value. Now, this is the last thing before we touched. And in this episode, coming back to the workplace with all these great ideas and being like, we’re gonna implement all these things, I would say, whoa, whoa, whoa.
[00:37:06] Kevin Dieny: Slow it down. this is the most frustrating thing about attending a very valuable event is that you come back with these sometimes incredible ideas that could very well help your company do big moves in a big way. But when you come back, you have to remember. remember this company, why they haven’t done that already.
[00:37:29] Kevin Dieny: Right? Why haven’t they moved or changed things already? There’s a reason that these ideas have the opportunity to help your business and they haven’t already done them. So take it with a grain of salt that when you come back, not everything you learned would be implemented. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard people go.
[00:37:47] Kevin Dieny: The reason I’m not going to this event is they’re always so good, so great. But when I come back, nothing ever changes. . Gosh, it’s frustrating to hear. Right. I, I learn all these great things, but I can’t apply them, you know, or, or I brought all these ideas back and none of them were implemented. I get it. I understand the struggle.
[00:38:07] Kevin Dieny: I see you. And I validate that that happens. That happens more often than it. Doesn’t okay. So when you come back it to be very think very critically, how actually could this be. Impacted could this come to realization? Could I actually change something at my company? What is the practicalness in that, and that knowing that may take you back and go, you know what, then I, I don’t know if I wanna go to the event.
[00:38:36] Kevin Dieny: I don’t know if I wanna go to that session or that speaker or, you know, I may take my notes differently because I I’m only gonna be listening. I’m only gonna be trying to get the practical, actionable things I can take away and. That will I can implement when I give back, if you go to an event and come back and go, that was all great, but I can’t do anything.
[00:38:55] Kevin Dieny: then, you know, maybe that event wasn’t as valuable as it could have been. So that’s the last thing I’ll leave you with is really, really seriously consider in person events. They’re amazing. They’re valuable. The value you can get out of attending an in-person event is huge. Whether it’s educational knowledge, trends, strategies, ideas that could completely revolutionize your business, the networking capability, being able to connect with, meet other people in your industry, in your role in the market who are struggling with the same things you are is.
[00:39:27] Kevin Dieny: So valuable and that’s how you get the most. That’s how you maximize your time at an in person event is preparing for ’em attending them, trying to having that perspective of I’m gonna get the most that I can out of this talking, I think to sponsors and vendors, you never know, meet them in person, you know, figure out what you think about them.
[00:39:46] Kevin Dieny: And then last of all, when you come back, Are these practical, actionable takeaways, learnings that you have or connections is, are these practical. And if they are, then I think you’ve just opened the door and realize like me how valuable in person events really are and spread the word like, I’m doing so thank you.
[00:40:09] Kevin Dieny: Uh, I hope you got a lot out of this episode and you have some actionable takeaways and things you can do, um, that. You figured out maybe how to figure out what event you wanna attend to next. I hope there’s one coming up that you have in mind or that you’ve considered. Uh, if not, you know, hit Google search around.
[00:40:26] Kevin Dieny: See if you can find one. That’s interesting to you. So, uh, again, appreciate you listening. Uh, this is the Close the Loop podcast. Thank you so much.