You’ll Be an Active Part of the Process
SOBCon is a bit different from other conferences you’ve been to. All the presentations, sessions and activities are part of an overall curriculum. Yes, it is carefully curated and thoughtfully put together, but this event is more about learning than it is about having an experience. It’s a coordinated learning process.
As a result, this is not an event where you sit passively and listen. You’ll be an active part in the process, and that takes a different frame of mind than you may be used to at events.
Several times over the course of the event, everyone turns away from the front of the room to connect with each other at tables of 5 or 6 people. These Mastermind sessions are where you’ll take the ideas and adapt them to your own business.
The more you put in, the more you get out. By talking through the concepts with colleagues, you’ll understand them better. Be active in the discussion. Listen as others share their situations. Ask questions. Offer suggestions. Share about yourself, too. The best breakthroughs will come when you speak up.
If you’re attending with others from your organization or people you see all the time, don’t sit with them. You can get their ideas and feedback any time. Take this chance to get an outside perspective.
There will be 25 or so table groups at SOBCon. One of them is the right fit for you. If you find yourself at a table that’s not the right match, you can move. Maybe not in the middle of someone’s sentence, but certainly during a break or over lunch. In fact, many people make a point of sitting with a different group on the second day to learn from more diverse people.
Frame of Mind
Besides being an active participant, there are a few more adjustments to your frame of mind that will help you make the most of being in the room.
Since you’ll be meeting a lot of people, plan for introductions. Know how you plan to introduce yourself, what you want people at this event to know about you.
Be your most friendly self. Act like you’re in a small town. Say hello to everyone. Talk to your neighbors, whether at your table, in line, or where ever you find yourself. Throughout the day, take the initiative to break the ice. You’ll discover that everyone at SOBCon is someone interesting. The “make a killing online” crowd doesn’t get attracted to this. And the fact you’re drawn to this event says that you’re doing some pretty cool stuff, too.
Some famous names attend, but don’t be intimidated by that. They aren’t going to be acting or feeling superior. I’ve learned that the “cool kids” are often actually the shy kids. They seem to act cool because they’re introverted, not because they think they’re better than you.
Some non-famous people also attend. It turns out, people you have never heard of are terrific and amazing and worth meeting. Many are well-known, just in a different area. It’s probably the same for you. You’re probably more well known in a local circle, or within your field.
Someone needs to meet you. Veteran attendees may feel like they know everyone, but the truth is that usually a third to a half of the people are new each year. If you’re coming for your first time, you’ll be in great company.
It’s Up to You
With all these differences, SOBCon amplifies the need to participate actively in order to best benefit. You really will get back based on what you put into it. It’s up to you. Own the act of getting what you need.