June 17, 2006
Liz published this at 12:20 pm
Choosing to Go Isn’t Easy
They say that when the learner is ready the teacher appears.
I had the privilege of attending a Seth Godin seminarthis week. My closest friends can’t believe I managed to get there.
Getting to a seminar is a problem for me. There are so many seminars, and there’s so little time. I have a problem choosing. I don’t really like to commit my time. I really like learning, but I’m leery of things that look like school.
Learning is task that I do by myself. A seminar is a BIG DEAL — It’s an investment of time and money. I have a whole speech that talks me out of such things. I can call that speech up in a second.
“NO WAY! Can’t afford it. No time. Too much to do. Need to be working, not spending. That would be fun. That would slacking. . . . taking the easy way. Can’t buy folks’ wisdom just ’cause I feel like it.”
What a crock!
It’s a great speech. It’s not a valid argument . . . but it works when want to talk myself out of something. It’s not about time or about slacking. NO WAY, No time is my back door to avoiding something that I feel is risky.
Attending a seminar is saying out loud that I want to learn something.
What if I go and it’s not what I thought? What if I don’t learn anything? What if I fall off my bike?
The answer’s the same to all three questions. But you knew that. I had to learn the hard way. I skipped the seminar on the value of seminars. If had skipped the Seth Godin seminar, I would have missed so much more.
Seth Godin, Ann Michael, and a Wealth of Ideas
Going to the seminar had all of the hassle that going anywhere has — transportation stress, different city, a hotel, new people, schedule changes, packing, unpacking. It also shook up my routine just enough for me to see myself and the world in new ways . . . and to uncover the hidden benefits of attending seminars. If you haven’t been to a top-notch seminar in while here’s what you’re missing.
- The wisdom of the speaker and the speaker’s presence. It’s one thing to read what Seth writes. It’s another thing to hear him actually say it and expand well beyond what is in his books. The message is deeper when you’re in the same room listening to the thinker who thought it. There’s a significant value to being there.
- The wisdom of the other participants. Great seminars attract really smart people. Really smart people add to the knowledge base of a seminar. The participants were teachers as well as learners. That’s a seminar worth every ounce of investment.
- The ideas for branding and promotion go beyond the content. Every word that a thinker, like Seth, offers is a seed. It’s fodder. I went ready to take in all I could and I was showered with great ideas. The cool part is that my ideas are tailored to my situation, because they came from my experience of the seminar. Great seminars are information and inspiration.
- The relationships that begin there. I got to spend the evening before and day of the seminar with Ann Michael. We forged a relationship that’s going to have an impact on the future of our businesses. We also met other like-minded quality folks who were open to conversation. I’m betting that some of those relationships grow as well.
- The change of venue. I subscribe to the saying You slowly become what you look at most. So changing what I see makes difference in what I think. It jars my world view. It refreshes my focus. I can see my business and my brand through lens of an outsider. I’ve already thought of new ways to promote it and old habits that no longer should be part of what I do.
What a phenomenal pay off on what was a small investment for what I got. I’ve grown in how I look at my business, how I define my brand, what I will offer my readers, what I promise my clients, and how I see myself taking my business forward.
I’ll never have trouble choosing a seminar again. I know what to look for — a world-class speaker, who attracts world-class participants, and a topic I want to learn more about. That’s it. Imagine. I almost missed it all. Seminars are now part of my strategic plan for growth. Thank you, Seth Godin, for showing me what a good seminar can do. Thank you Ann for your ideas too.
Have you had experience with seminars lately? What criteria do you use to choose them?
–ME “Liz” Strauss