I live by the quote of Abigail Adams who said “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
Being an educator compels and propels me to be a constant learner. As such, I love attending business conferences that cover the latest trends, and feature the best minds who share both successful and failed experiences. The sharing from these forums complements the frameworks and concepts I previously learned in other seminars, and allows me to make our Mansmith programs even better, especially with updated knowledge. My wife Chiqui and I still pursue these learning opportunities to this day, even flying abroad just to “sharpen the saw!”
Imagine having access to dozens of rockstar speakers from different industries and different backgrounds who share different experiences and valuable insights. These renowned personalities are not always available to the public or not together in a single event. This is the kind of conference I personally invest in for my own learning, and the template of our Mansmith conferences.
There are four big reasons why attending a marketing conference with great topics and rockstar speakers are good investments for one’s personal and professional development.
1. Be seen!
Christmas of 2022 set the stage for people to go back to normal or face to face. For the first time in three years, we were finally able to get together and freely roam around to meet relatives and close friends. Chances are though, we have not yet met with most of our industry peers and other business associates, and it is important to be reminded of the saying in networking: “out of sight, out of mind.” Now is a good time to reconnect and remind people you are still around to continue where you left off before or to discuss new business possibilities. Networking is even more efficient in bigger events. Be present!
In one recent conference, I reconnected with a friend who is working in a multinational company, and not long after, a seven-digit contract fell on my lap. We were both grateful for the chance to work together again.
2. Be inspired!
Jot down notes and be inspired with what is being shared. Just one big idea is already worth the time and money spent attending the conference. Other times, it is not what was said but what was triggered by the sharings that led you to look into something you have never considered before. The establishment of Waters Philippines as the first home water system using the network marketing compensation system in the Philippines was a direct result of my attending a conference in Bangkok. Waters later beat a multinational company and became the market leader in the Philippines.
The inspiration was not just from what was shared but from what I saw and felt. I realized I can even do better than what I experienced in that conference. Waters Philippines later became the champion and leading distributor in Asia, in a ceremony held in China. I saw our team members proud and teary-eyed as the Philippine National Anthem was played during the ceremony.
3. Be connected!
Networking opportunities in the last three years were fairly limited. Now is the time to meet new friends, starting with your conference seat mates, and the seat mates of your acquaintances too. Print your calling cards again to exchange with others.
I particularly like networking with like-minded individuals who are lifelong learners like me, especially when they come from different industries. After all, the best way to learn is not just benchmarking within your industry where you end up looking like the competitor and just catching up with them. In learning from other industries, you can apply their current ways as possible new practices that can be pioneering in your industry. For instance, our company, Mansmith and Fielders Inc. is an advocacy-based marketing consulting firm, and we have adopted many lessons from both professional organizations and NGOs.
I find that we share as many as four commonalities with many delegates. We are (1) always curious, (2) always restless, (3) always finding new ways, and (4) always investing in ourselves.
I met the CEO of a start-up company in a conference. He introduced himself to me and I checked his company online as I have the habit of doing. Later, he invited me to lunch and we exchanged notes on many topics, ranging from business to culture building to even personal matters. These are valuable conversations that lead to meaningful connections. I have invited him to speak in the forthcoming 14th Mansmith Market Masters Conference scheduled on May 17, 2023.
4. Be unstuck!
By listening carefully, or interacting with the speakers, you can get clarity on an issue, or gain a new perspective on something that has been unresolved for you. The result is instant relief, even joy that you have been able to see things differently, which in turn enables you to think differently and do things differently.
In 2017, I was in Singapore as part of my serenity walk, i.e., travel with no fixed agenda at all. I went to a non-marketing talk, which did not serve me any instant benefit other than new knowledge. But it was enough to make me more curious to know the topic deeper. Then five years later, while discussing a perennial business challenge with a client, I remembered the notes I took in that random talk, and was able to use the points raised there to connect the dots. It was a liberating feeling recognizing that no knowledge is ever wasted or left unused.
So this 2023 and onward, go back to the conference-learning arena – be seen, be inspired, be connected, and be unstuck!
Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. He chairs the 14th Market Masters Conference featuring 16 of the biggest names in marketing. Registration ongoing through www.marketmastersconference.com