There's no shortage of business masterminds offering their expertise, and there are plenty of business-focused events billed as "must-attend" functions. However, no leader has time to access them all and, depending on your goals, many aren't even worth your time. But if you’re a high-achieving professional who is eager to learn and grow in your role or advance your business, how do you determine which events are right for you?
The members of Young Entrepreneur Council have a few suggestions. Below, they each share one factor they look at to determine whether or not a business mastermind or certain networking event is worth their time—and how you can do the same.
1. Whether You Can Define A Clear Objective For Attending
I once went to an industry event, and a fellow CEO asked me very directly, "Why are you here?" I think I gave him a long-winded answer about understanding the industry and staying up on the latest trends. I asked him the same question, and he answered me very directly in probably 10 words. Ever since, I remember that exchange, and I only attend industry events where I can define a clear primary objective—and maybe a secondary one that's "nice to have." If I can't do that, I usually skip the event as it's just not worth the time. - JT Allen, myFootpath LLC
2. Whether It's Going To Challenge You
Is it going to make you uncomfortable? Embrace the unknown. It is easy to attend events with people you know and topics you've heard a million times before. Real change and learning comes when you challenge yourself to participate in something that's unknown. If it's going to challenge you, it will be worth it. - Chase Williams, Market My Market
3. Whether There Will Be People In Attendance You Can Connect With
I look at the connections—or super-connections—and what common ground they share with me. The best and most meaningful events are those where attendees connect at some level through unique shared experiences. To find this common ground for an event I am invited to, I always look at the host or person doing the inviting. Even if I don't know them personally, I can still find who connected us (a super-connector). In addition to examining commonalities between myself and the host of an event, it also helps to research potential speakers, panelists or mentors so that I can better understand what kind of knowledge and experience everyone brings to the table to decide whether their expertise aligns with my goals and would result in a more productive use of time. - Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
4. Whether The Event Can Help You Improve Your Weaknesses
We are in constant pursuit of improving our business, and some of these events can help tremendously if the right people are in attendance and the right subject matter is on the agenda. Many of the events that I have attended in the past have had a direct impact on the growth of our business. This is due to the individuals whom I learned from at these events. But, I was cognizant to only attend if I knew people were in attendance who could help me in an area of weakness. - Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery
5. Whether Your Peers Found Value In The Event
We always ask ourselves, "What are our peers saying about this event or opportunity?" We want to see that entrepreneurs like us get real value out of it, beyond mere networking (though that's important too). In fact, we'd recommend skipping the first version of any event unless it's a direct outgrowth of a similar event with a proven track record. Afterward, if anyone you know and trust attends, ask them for their honest take on whether it was worth it and for tips to get the most out of it if and when you attend the next time around. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
6. Whether The Host Or Organizer Has A Credible Reputation
When evaluating whether a business mastermind or networking event is worth my time, I look at the reputation of the host or organizer. I look into their background, credentials and experience in hosting events that are relevant to my interests and browse through previous event records. A reputable host or organizer with a history of successful events and satisfied attendees is a good sign that the event will be well-organized, high quality and provide value to me and my business. Additionally, I consider the format, content and goals of the event to see if they align with my own goals and expectations, as well as the cost and any other resources required for attendance. - Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT
7. Whether The Content Is Relevant To Your Goals
The most important factor to look at when deciding whether or not you should attend a networking event is its relevance to your respective goals. See if the event presents you with an opportunity to learn from the expertise and experience of the speakers or other like-minded professionals that help maximize your efficiency and bring you a step closer to achieving your goals. Attending such events is definitely worth your time. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Whether The Speaker Has Something New To Offer
I look up some of what the speaker may have done previously, like any books they've authored or studies they've published. I may look up other speeches to get the gist of what they will talk about. I can do all of that in about 15 minutes to figure out whether the event is worth my time. What I look for to make that decision is whether this speaker has something new to offer. It is particularly important to me that they have practical solutions to offer that would benefit me, my workers or my company. I want to walk out of such meetings with an idea of how to implement ideas that will make improvements. A speaker who can't give me that isn't worth my time. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
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