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Conferences: Should You Stay Or Should You Go?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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Why go? Should I go to this conference? Maybe I should just stay in the office and work.

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  

Let's face it. Within the financial industry there is no end to the amount of conferences that are available to attend. It is literally possible to be gone every month attending award trips, learning trips, study groups etc. if you aren't careful you can learn, reward and travel yourself right out of business!

However, I am a big fan of attending these events, even so much as to have been accused of being a conference junkie or working on my lanyard collection. I think it is important to be choosy as to which events you spend your time and money attending. Below are three reasons why you must go to the right events:

Learn

Events like Conferences bring out the best and the brightest within any industry. What an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from a host of experts from all over the country or world in one location. Some of the best business practices or presentations have come from me attending a breakout session at a conference.

These presentations have led to my clients and me being financially better. Sometimes, it's the one idea that you pick up that more than pays for any registration or travel expenses that may be incurred. There is a direct correlation between learning and earning, never stop doing either.

Network

The networking and creating relationship is also one of the valuable results of attending a conference. Over my career I have made numerous friends throughout the world at such events. Typically like-minded people attend similar events, therefore you can't help but meet people who are interested in the same ideas that you deem valuable.

However, it is often that some of the best ideas come from seeing what other successful people do in their lives/business. Much of the learning that I mentioned above has happened for me as a result of conversations that take place surrounding the actual event. I also mentioned earlier the fact that experts are gathered in the same place as presenters/speakers, what a great opportunity to meet and establish a relationship with someone with such influence.

Social media has added to the power of the conference. The shelf life of the content, as well as the ability to connect with other attendees has been greatly extended. I typically will tweet, post on LinkedIn and Facebook before, during and after an event. Using #Hashtags to group/categorize posts helps to connect those in attendance and talking about the conference or subject.

Recharge

It is important to work hard and most successful advisors do not have trouble with putting in the time. It is however important to step back and take a break from time to time. Good conferences are usually held in great resorts and beautiful locations. The group rate that a conference enjoys at hotels allows you to travel within budget and is often a business expense for tax purposes. So as you travel the world while learning and networking you are also getting a chance to rest and recharge your inner battery. This recharging allows you to return to the office with new ideas, skills and to be overall more focused.

Most conference events offer some element of the three items listed above, but they weren't all created equally. It is important to make good choices about which events make it into your calendar. I have a few that are mainstays and that I hate to miss. Find which ones work best for your goals and objectives and just go!

I would love to hear feedback via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. What are some of your thoughts on attending events and which ones are your favorites?

Some of my favorites include:

The Catalyst Conference

Triad Advisors National Conference

Kingdom Advisors

LEAP Symposium

__________________________

Todd Burkhalter is a financial planner and managing Partner at Catalyst Wealth Management. He has worked in the financial service industry since 1997, and is a member of The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers, and a Licensed LEAP Practitioner. Email him directly at todd@toddburkhalter.com.

 

 

 

 

(1) Comment
An effective plan starts with reading the conference agenda carefully. Pick sessions to attend that will advance your goals and objectives. If you can manage to get an advance list of attendees, identify the people that you want to see. Networking with them will help you in your career.
Posted by KIMMY B | Thursday, December 26 2013 at 10:50AM ET
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