Monthly Archives: August 2014

10 Ways to Get the Most From a Conference

Cynthia's Communique

Identify Your Goals Before you arrive at the conference spend some time reflecting on your professional goals for attending. Conferences are a great way to advance your professional objectives. You can build your network, find a mentor, advance your subject matter expertise, and develop new skills. From a personal standpoint, you could grow your personal brand or make connections with others.

Create a Checklist Before you head out the door, be sure you have everything you need. One way to do this is to create a checklist. You will want to take lots of business cards, notebook, pen and laptop or tablet. It’s also good to highlight the sessions you want to attend and make note of individuals with whom you want to connect.

Participate If this is your first conference, attend the orientation for new attendees and participate in any specific activities. At the NFPW conference, all first-timers wear…

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Forward Progress

Last week I had a great meeting (ok, actually it was breakfast…because I try to always organize my meetings around meals!) with someone I greatly respect and admire. Plus I told her I want to be like her when I grow up. Meridith Elliott Powell is well-respected as an author, speaker and strategic planner, and helps businesses improve their bottom lines. And she had some great advice for me in my quest to grow my business as a speaker and eventually become a published author.

We all need mentors like Meridith in our lives. I’ve been fortunate to have several in my lifetime, and hopefully there will be many more. And I certainly hope I will be able to do the same for someone sometime.

But of all the things Meridith & I talked about over breakfast, the biggest takeaway for me was “forward progress.”  She explained that even though I was having lots of fun doing lots of different things career-wise, were these things really making “forward progress” in my career? Or were they just fun?

Sometimes it’s ok to just have fun, but too often we only see the big picture and miss the important details. Most of you have heard me say (on more than one occasion), “gotta pay the mortgage…” So when I decided to re-evaluate the many (many) things on my calendar, I had to be honest and remove some of the things that just don’t help me “pay the mortgage.”

Forward progress is what Meridith called it…if something on your schedule isn’t making forward progress, stop doing it, she advised. Very good advice, I realized,
not just for business but in my personal life too. I’ve heard the phrase many times (even used it) in sports, but hadn’t really applied it to my life.

So this past week I resigned my part-time on-air position with Magic 98.9 and gave up my Sunday afternoon radio gig. I had alot of fun playing tunes every weekend, but since my ultimate goal isn’t to be a full-time disc jockey, it was time to move on. Time to concentrate on the things which give me “forward progress.”

So what does this mean for my schedule? Yes, a day off here and there (yay!!) but more importantly, some quality time to do the things I need to do, even if it’s catch up on emails, return phone calls, empty the dishwasher or do the laundry. Hey, that stuff has gotta be done, too, right? So sometimes you just gotta admit it’s time to move on so you can move forward. I’m ready…are you?

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