Social Media and our new sharing habits aren’t just changing conferences, they are changing how we experience and integrate events into our lives.
Events are landmarks on our journey through life.
Events are turning points where you meet potentially amazing people, discover great content or simply change a perception or have an epiphany. We may not plan for this outcome, but it happens.
Consciously or subconsciously it is why we seek out events and human interaction.
Events have many forms:
- Conference /Networking: Somewhere to gather to connect or learn
- Seasonal / Historic / Religious: Easter, Christmas, Diwali, Passover etc
- Personal: Birth, Death, Marriage, Anniversaries etc
- Traditions: Valentine’s Day, St Patricks Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day etc
- Landmarks / Bookmarks: On-boarding / Off-boarding events e.g. Graduation ceremonies.
Events have many dimensions and continuums:
- Physical vs Virtual
- Planned vs Unplanned (unconferences)
- Organizer run vs Community run
- One-off / Flashmob vs Serial/Repeating
- Paid vs Free
- Largs vs Small
- Mass vs Niché
- Recorded Audio vs Recorded Video vs Photos vs Not
- Broadcast vs Not
- Passive Consumption vs Active Participation
When you either plan to throw an event, or simply attend an event run by someone else, think about where that event sits on these dimensions. What is the experience? What are the norms?
Just like music, books and social tools, there’s a huge choice of events, but I sense we are on an explosion of even more social gatherings. Social lets us find our niché audience. The number of potential events is heading to infinity.
How do we get the most business/personal value from the events we choose to attend?
Do you have an event strategy? Personally? Professionally?
Do we just attend conferences or do we now expect to participate?
Today I choose events by how much I get to participate. I know I will learn more, share more, meet more people and therefore derive more value. The model of “one speaker to many static audience members” feels so dated.
Which is the best bit for you?
- Before: The run up, the anticipation and the pre-networking
- During: The actual moment of the event
- After: The post event networking memories and sharing
I’m a strong believer in getting value from the full event window.
My perception of events has changed a lot since joining Listly as co-founder. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with some very creative people and I’ve seen them create experiences, memories and value by taking a fresh look at events. Here’s a collection of some of the people (in no particular order) who have changed how I perceive events:
- Jane Boyd
- Paul O’Mahoney
- Ambassador Bruny
- Steph Montreuil
- Liz Strauss / Terry Starbucker
- Chris Dancy
- Tim McDonald
- Brandie McCallum
- Keith Ferrazzi
- AJ Leon
- Michael Margolis
- Ric Dragon
- Ted Rubin
- Paul Barron
- Eric Kim
- Dino Dogan
They all have unique ways or running, attending, promoting, or extracting value from events.
Here’s 10 examples of strategies Listly users have implemented to help them get more value from their strategic investment in events. All these ideas came about by people just experimenting.
10 Strategies to Get More from Your Events & Conferences
Curate Quotes / Insights from an Event
You often hear some amazing quotes when you attend an event.
Share them as a list
Sharing Speaker lists and Talk Outlines
By making a list of your speakers, you can request people embed your list on their blog. If more people embed your lists then more people will learn about your event.
You don't need to wait for the organizer to make a list. You don't need permission. Simply make your list and start sharing it.
Here's a list from Content Marketing Word 2012 made by Andrew Davis
Andrew just made a new list for Content Marketing Word 2013
Creating Attendee Lists
Organizers can create attendee lists, but some are resistant.
You don't need permission to create your own list. Share it and ask people to add themselves to the list.
Sharing Your Event Content
Sharing the content for your event is something you can do to make it easy for people to share.
Sometimes the content is posted on each speaker's page on Slideshare, for example.
Making a list of the content across Slideshare, Prezi etc just makes it easier for more people to discover, embed and share it
Collecting Related Events in a Niché
There's always a collection of events you can attend in any given niché.
It's valuable to make and share a list so other's can contribute.
eg here's a list of digital analytics events
Collecting Events on the Same Date
Perhaps there's a whole bunch of events in your city over Easter or for the 4th of July.
Here's an example in Texas
Sharing Books Featured at an Event
Perhaps you discover a whole bunch of great books as a result of attending an event.
Why not share them as a list
Sharing Audio Files for Speakers
Tools like Audioboo make it super simple to share what you hear at an event.
Collect your recording on a list like this example from Social Media Camp 2012
Social, collaborative lists are a great way to organize, share and involve people in your conference experience.
Lists form memories just like videos, photos and podcasts.
Lists are the ultimate shareable media/memory collectors.
Tagging people on a list of would be speakers, tagging them as people “you know” or would “like to know” are all forms of social caring, social sharing and social proof.
If we don’t share moments in our life, we forget them. When we share them, they become special memories. Sharing also elevates the people with whom we share an event. Sharing gives them a special and significant place in our lives. Sharing is how we learn, cope and filter.
Waiting to get to an event to see who is there is a missed opportunity. Not sharing your attendance repeatedly via social channels is a mistake. You have to give serendipity a chance.
Just like the number of possible events is set to explode, so is event attendance sharing. This is a shift in our cultural norms, which explains why tools like Plancast and Conferize are taking their time to reach mainstream adoption.
Sharing is how we attract people to our events and this happens before during and after each event. You don’t have to be an organizer to be a promoter. Sharing your attendance is a way of participating.
The full event window is now very long, which gives you more time to get value from your investment. When we choose an event, we should commit to it, we should choose to share it and we should choose to make it special.
Great events happen when other great people come too.
Not everyone has quite made this cultural value shift. ie attending event = promoting the event.
I believe Listly plays a significant role in amplifying your event choices and in helping you find your tribe and in building your personal brand. You have to give people the opportunity to find you too. You are not the only one seeking to maximise event attendance.
Those people who get it’s power, use Listly to amazing effect. Some know how to promote, attract and find their tribe. This is a skill I believe we are all actively learning.
- Which is your favorite Listly strategy?
- How do you get the most from events?
- Who has changed your perceptions of events?
- What tools are you using to enhance the lifetime value of every event you attend?
Image Credit : wwworks via Flickr.com and Creative Commons