conferences

What’s it really like to attend a Janet Murray event

If you’re thinking about attending one of my events for the first time, you may be wondering if the event will be right for you.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of what to expect when you attend one of my events.

Informal (and definitely not corporate)

I’m not a big fan of corporate dos, so you’ll never catch me running an event in a stuffy hotel conference suite. Most of our events are held at The Trampery, a co-working space in Shoreditch, East London. We use the ballroom, a versatile space that includes a 12-metre long art installation by acclaimed London designers, Bad Marriage.

Our annual content planning masterclass, #2020 Sorted is a much bigger event, and so will be held at the Hilton in Northampton.

I don’t want you to attend an event; I want you to have an experience. That’s why we style the room like we would for a party (rather than a conference), hand you a gift bag when you arrive and feed you with delicious food throughout the day.

As far as clothes are concerned, you can definitely leave the business suit at home. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

Friendly

There’s nothing worse than walking into a roomful of people you don’t know. That’s why I make every effort to ensure guests have already ‘met’ each other before the event - via a dedicated Facebook group and Twitter list. I also hold a live briefing call (using the video conferencing software Zoom) about a week before the event so you can ask questions (if you have them) and meet some of the other guests.

If you’re coming along to #2020 Sorted on November 14 & 15, you can join the Facebook group here and the Twitter list here.

In the run up to the event, we’ll email you with tips on how to prepare for the event. I’ve created tons of content to help, including,

How to prepare for a conference or workshop

How to use social media to stand out at a live event

7 non-sucky networking tips for live events

5 reasons to blog about attending a live event

How to write a blog post about an event you’ve attended

Five things you should do after a conference or workshop

We try to think of everything we can to make the experience enjoyable and stress-free -  from reminding you to charge your phone (or bring a battery pack) to sending you pictures of the tube exit you need to take (several previous event guests commented that they really appreciated the latter).

Useful

Hosting a live event is expensive (read this to find out how much it costs to host a live event) but we don’t cut any corners on the speakers or resources (or anything for that matter).

I handpick all speakers personally and brief them in a lot of detail about what’s expected of them - so they can provide maximum value on the day. All speakers are paid - not only because I believe in valuing peoples’ expertise and experience, but because I also want them to turn up on time, be fully present and not let me down at the the last hour. Me paying them what they're worth means you get their best game on the day.

Above all I want my events to be practical and packed with tips you can put into action immediately.

While there is no obligation to do so, I encourage guests to create preview content to gather their thoughts ahead of the event. Guests from my Media Influence Live (previously called Soulful PR Live) event created a whopping 16 piece of preview blogs/vlog - many of whom turned it into valuable piece of content for their audience.

How to take better smartphone photos at events by Antonina Mamzenko

Four reasons why I’m attending Soulful PR Live by Helen Packham

Comfortable networking for introverts: how not to waste an incredible networking opportunity by Lucia Knight

How to dress for a conference or workshop by Dara Ford

Why I’ve decided to attend a PR conference by Adanna Bankole

How to overcome secret nerves about attending networking events by Clare Josa.

How to overcome the fear of talking to journalists at Live Events by Samantha Kirton

How to stop your fear of feeling like a fraud get in the way of networking or pitching your ideas by Clare Josa

How to prepare for an important conference by Cathy Wassell

Into the lion’s den: five mindset strategies that will have you waking into a conferences feeling like you can take on the world by Rebecca Morley.

Why I’m glad I didn’t resell my ticket for Soulful PR Live by Raphaelle Cox

Why you should always carry a scarf to a business lunch or conference by Dara Ford

Keeping your energy high at live events – five top tips by Raphaelle Cox

4 questions to ask before spending money on your business by Debbie Clarke

4 reasons why I wear vintage fashion to business events by Kate Beavis

Comfortable networking for introverts (1) – how not to waste an amazing network opportunity by Lucia Knight

Inspiring

It’s hard to put my finger on why/how, but my events seem to attract a certain kind of person - creative women who are willing to put the work in to make their business a success - and have fun while they are doing it. There are no egos: they’re humble about their successes, honest about their failures and keen to help others whenever they can.

There are no egos at Janet Murray events - just friendly business owners who are keen to help each other out

Reviews

Still undecided about attending one of my events? Don’t take my word for it. Read these follow-up blog posts from Media Influence Live (previously called Soulful PR Live) guests.

What happens when a conference is organised by women? by Kat Quinzel.

12 takeaways from attending Soulful PR Live 2017 by Samantha Kirton

5 mistakes to avoid when pitching to world-class journalists by Helen Packham

9 journalist tips on how to get PR for your business by Cathy Wassell

Why it’s important to never ever give up by Michelle Purse

5 reasons why you’re not achieving PR coverage by Paula Hutchings

What I learned from a day with journalists by Raphaelle Cox.

Canny Janet does it again; a review of the Soulful PR Live conference by Tim Lewis

Is media coverage relevant for your business? by Adanna Bankole

7 tips to take away from Soulful PR Live 2017 by JournoLink

Comfortable networking for Introverts - How was the lion's den? And a Cinderella moment... by Lucia Knight

Want to experience what it’s like to attend one of my live events? Watch this video...

Five things you should do after a conference or workshop

Attending conferences or workshops can be exhausting. If you’re anything like me, when you get back home - or back to your hotel - the only thing you’ll feel like doing is putting your feet up, ordering in pizza and watching Netflix.

But when it comes to building relationships, the first few hours and days after a conference or workshops are the most important. Leave it too late to follow up on the connections you’ve made, and you could find you’ve missed the moment.

With that in mind, here’s five things you should do immediately after a conference or workshop.

1.Join in the socials

As my friend Andrew Pickering (one half of the content marketing duo Andrew and Pete) puts it, the best conversations often happen at the bar – after the event. So don’t rush off at the end unless you absolutely have to. Most event organisers now include evening socials (you can find out about the socials at Content Live in our Facebook community) so resist the lure of Netflix and get out there and socialise.

Hanging out with Andrew and Pete at Social Day

2.Follow up on social media

After a day of tweeting, tagging and re-sharing, you may feel like giving social media a miss for a while, but immediately after the event is the best time to follow up with people you’d like to stay in touch with.

Recording a short video/audio message and sending it over via Twitter or Facebook messenger can be a quick way to do this.

If you’re not attending the socials, posting about your journey home and any other reflections on the day will keep you top of mind.

Putting aside some time to go through the social media content that has been created during the day, tagging other guests and speakers into photographs and sharing other useful content will make you more memorable.

If you really want to be remembered, you could create a memento of the day using Storify (which allows you to collect social media updates, pictures, video and audio clips to create a ‘story’ of the day) or make an Adobe spark video.

Don’t forget to use the event hashtag (for the uninitiated, hashtags group together content on the same topic) even after the event has finished. 

Here’s some more ideas on how to use social media to stand out at a live event.  

3.Reflect on your learning

The best time to go through your notes is immediately after the event, when it’s all still fresh in your mind - ideally on your journey home or in your hotel room. Having all of your notes in one place will help you gather your ideas and give you an ongoing reference to go back to when you starting putting what you’ve learned into action. If you work in a team, this will also make it easier for you to feed back what you’ve learned to colleagues.  

We’ve created a smart-looking workbook for  Content Live 2018 to help you keep all your notes in one place.

4.Create a follow-up blog/vlog

Creating a follow-up blog/vlog of the event not only helps you process your learning, it can also help you attract traffic to your website, win new customers/clients and offer value to existing ones.

For more information, read: five reasons to blog about attending a live event.

Like the idea of blogging about your experience, but not sure how to get started? Read: how to write a blog post about an event you’ve attended.

Here's a round up of content guests at Media Influence Live created:

How to win at live events by Catherine France

Why there is an 'I' in invest by Sheila Mulvenney

Why you shouldn't attend any live events this year or ever by Janine Coombes

My Media Influence Live event goals by Lynn Hill

9 tips to choose the perfect handbag for networking and business events by Jennifer Hamley

Why I'm not attending a book-keeping conference by Zoe Whitman

Should I stop networking to save money? by Zoe Whitman

Why should you attend conferences? by Rachel Miller

Do you invest in yourself? by Louise Roberts

5 good reasons to attend a live event by Sheila Mulvenney

How do you invest in a personal development strategy by Nadine Powrie

If writing’s not your thing, you can created a video, like podcasting expert Colin Gray did for his review of CMA Live 2017: 

5.Book your ticket for the next event

Most event organisers offer generous earlybird discounts to guests who book tickets for their next event on the day - or shortly afterwards. So if you enjoyed the event, book your ticket for the next one as soon as you can. 

Tickets are on sale for our next live event, Content Live 2018, and you can currently get the Super Early Bird price.  If you attended my most recent event or are a member of my membership community, you'll also have an "alumni discount code" which gives you the best possible ticket price.  You can get your ticket here.

You can connect with me on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

 

7 non-sucky networking tips for live events

Attending a live event or workshop can be intimidating.The idea of walking into a packed venue and having to start conversations with complete strangers can strike fear into even the most confident of personalities.

The good news is, networking at live events doesn’t have to feel awkward or uncomfortable.

Here’s seven tips to help:

1. Connect on social media before the event

Most event organisers create a Twitter list of event guests (the #2020 Sorted Twitter list is here) and a dedicated online community for delegates to connect before and after the event (#2020 Sorted has a dedicated Facebook community). This means you can check out guests and speakers ahead of the event and identify any you’d like to connect with.

Spending time chatting to other guests ahead of the event will make it much easier to connect with people In Real Life (IRL) and give you plenty of potential ice breakers e.g. ‘I love your Twitter profile picture’ or ‘really enjoyed that article you shared about x’. The event hashtag for #2020 Sorted is simply #2020Sorted.

Many people will be arriving early and/or staying on after the event. So if you want to make the best use of your time, reach out ahead of the event to the people you’d love to connect with and see if they’re free for a short meeting outside of the formal event activities.

 

2. Arrive early

There’s nothing worse than getting to an event late. Not only will you arrive feeling flustered, you’ll also miss out on valuable networking time. So book travel well in advance, make sure you have the exact address for the venue and plan your route from the station/airport/car park. Stake out a nearby cafe in case you arrive early (the hour or so leading up to the start of an event can be a stressful time for event organisers, so it's best not to arrive before the official start time).

At many events, guests will have taken the initiative to organise evening drinks (the night before) and breakfast meetings on the day. #2020 Sorted will have both - check out the Facebook community for details.

3. Be active on social media during the event

Most live events have a dedicated hashtag - which groups together content on the same topic - that is promoted in well in advance of the event. The event hashtag for #2020 Sorted is #2020Sorted.

Don’t wait until you get to the event to start posting and using the hashtag. Sharing updates about your journey, pre-event drinks, hotel breakfast - or anything else you think will help you make a connection with guests and speakers - will help break the ice.

Tagging other guests - and speakers - into your social media updates, retweeting and re-sharing other people’s content and engaging with conversations going on around the event will mean your avatar keeps popping up - making you more memorable to other delegates.

Here’s some more ideas on how to use social media to stand out at an event.

4. Ask questions

When you take the microphone to ask a question, you’ll usually be asked to introduce yourself - which instantly makes you more memorable. So don’t be shy about asking questions at the events you attend.

Make asking questions a priority in your informal conversations too; there’s no bigger turnoff than meeting someone at an event who can’t stop talking about themselves. 

Stuck for ideas? Here’s a few questions to get the conversation flowing:

‘What do you think of the event so far?’

‘What made you decide to come along to the event?’

‘How do you know x person?’

‘What’s your biggest takeaway so far?’

‘Where are you from?’

5. Don’t try to sell

People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. So diving in and trying to sell people your products/services - before they’ve had a chance to get to know you - is a big turn-off.

When you're talking to people, focus on building a genuine relationship and let things develop naturally; if there’s a way for you to work together in the future, it will happen when the time is right for both of you.

If you’re stuck for conversation starters, take a tip from my 11-year-old daughter who is just about to start secondary school and recently shared her ‘making new friends’ strategy with me - giving compliments (which also happens to be one I use myself).

‘Great bag’ or ‘love your website - who designed it?’ can be a great way to get chatting to someone new. As ever, putting the focus on someone else - rather than yourself - will make you far more likeable.

6. Don’t leave early

As my friend Andrew Pickering (one half of the content marketing duo Andrew and Pete) pointed out recently, the best conversations often happen at the bar - after the event. So don’t rush off at the end unless you absolutely have to. Most event organisers now include evening socials (you can find out about the socials for #2020 Sorted in our Facebook community).

7. Follow up

If you want to make the most of the connections you’ve made at a live event, don’t forget to follow up - and do it promptly.

If you don’t have time for email, recording a short video/audio message and sending it over via Twitter or Facebook messenger can be a quick way to do this.

If you want to make more of an impact, you could also create a blog/vlog about your experience of attending the event.  Here’s how to write a blog post about an event you’ve attended.

And don’t forget to tag yourself into any photos that have been posted by the event organisers over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Facebook page you’ll need for #2020 Sorted is here.

Instagram is here.

Twitter is here.

Looking forward to seeing you on the day. If you haven't booked yet you can do that here and if you can’t attend the event, you can follow along on the hashtag #2020Sorted.

How to prepare for a conference or workshop

Attending a conference or live event is a big investment of your time and money. But to get the most out of the experience, preparation is vital.

There is nothing more annoying than arriving at an event feeling flustered because you’re late, don’t have everything you need - or even that you haven’t got the dress code right for the occasion.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for #2020 Sorted and any other event you’re attending.

Not planning on attending any events this year? Read this article on why you should attend industry events and conferences.

1.Research the venue and book travel in advance

The last thing you want is to arrive at the event late, sweaty and flustered, having spent half an hour running around looking for the venue. So book your travel well in advance if you can, get the exact address of the venue and plan your route from the station/airport/car park. Booking travel well in advance can also help you save money on attending the conference. 

Plan to arrive early if you can, but do check what time the doors open and, unless it is unavoidable, don’t arrive before that time. The hour or so leading up to the start of an event is a busy (and sometimes stressful) time for conference organisers, so do them a favour and head to a cafe instead (you can identify one or two nearby as part of your planning). Allowing them to get on with their preparations uninterrupted will help you have a much better conference experience (and give you time to gather your thoughts before you arrive).

2.Study the conference schedule

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the conference schedule, including the time the doors open and timings for breaks and lunch. This will help you plan for networking opportunities - both with other delegates and the speakers. Many conferences have networking over coffee and/or breakfast before the event start, which can be a great time to connect with others delegates and introduce yourself to speakers.  You can view the schedule for #2020 Sorted here.

3. Do some background reading

If there are topics being covered in the conference that are unfamiliar to you, it can be a good idea to do some background reading. 

If you’re not sure where to start, ask the conference organiser if they can recommend any relevant books, blog posts, podcasts and/or videos.

4. Research the speakers

Conferences often provide the opportunity for you to chat to and meet leading experts in your field. So do spend some time looking at the content they create e.g. books, blog posts, podcasts, videos, social media updates so you can ask relevant questions at the event (and get maximum value).

We recommend that #2020 Sorteddelegates find out the following about our speakers:

  • What social media platforms they hang out on the most 
  • Any topics they seem particularly interested in (both personal and professional)
  • What kind of content they create on social media.

We also suggest they use our Twitter list of speakers (and delegates) and start interacting with them prior to the event. Most event organisers create Twitter lists of speakers - if they don’t you can ask them to/create your own.

We recommend our delegates prepare some questions to run past the speakers on the day (which means reading their blogs / checking out their YouTube channels / listening to their podcasts).

5. Connect with other guests

Attending live events is not just about the speakers; you also get to connect with like-minded business owners you might end up working with in the future.

But walking into a conference can be hard - particularly when you don’t know many people.

Even if you haven’t met in person, it’s much easier to walk into an event when you ‘know’ people from social media.

Many event organisers create Twitter lists of delegates so do put aside some time to interact with them ahead of the event. (Here’s our Twitter list for Build Your Audience Live delegates. We also have a dedicated Facebook group). If they don’t have one, get in touch and ask them to create one.

6. Organise your marketing materials

Make sure you have plenty of up-to-date business cards to share with people you meet at the event and any other materials you might want to share. For example, even if I’m not speaking at an event, I usually take along some copies of my book and media diary which often results in online sales.

If you do have a book or physical product, do check with the event organiser about selling it at the event though (and setting up an impromptu book stall at the event is probably not advisable).

7. Plan your social media strategy

Most conferences and events have a dedicated Twitter hashtag you can use before, during and after the event (Build Your Audience Live’s is #BYA2019) which can be a great way to find and stay in touch with other delegates.

Hashtags can get pretty busy during events though, so using an app like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck can help you stay on top of things.

Some may also have dedicated geofilters for Snapchat and/or Instagram, so if you’re active on those platforms, do ask the event organiser about it.

Blogging and/or creating social media content before, during and after the event is a great way to stay top of mind with speakers - and other delegates.

Create some event relevant social media content ahead of the day.

8. Do a technology check

Most event organisers will let you know whether you need to bring a laptop or a tablet (delegates are welcome to bring them to Build Your Audience Live but a pen and paper will do just fine). If in doubt, just ask.  

Before the conference, make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged. Most conference venues do have wall sockets, but usually only a handful - some of which will be in use for the audio and visual equipment - so don’t rely on this being available

Personally I always carry a portable charger for my phone and it’s definitely worth investing in one. I use the Juice Bar.

It’s also worth checking you have enough memory on your phone for taking photos and videos at the event.

Oh and don’t forget your favourite notebook and pen. Event organisers usually have spare paper and pens, but collecting your thoughts in one place is usually much better than scribbling on scraps of paper that can easily be lost.

9. Check the dress code

Most conferences are fairly relaxed these days, so anything generally goes, but if you run your own business, you are your brand. It’s worth thinking about how you want that brand to be perceived and how that is reflected in your personal appearance on the day. Delegates at my events are generally casual/smart casual, which is pretty typical, but do check with the event organiser if you’re unsure.

Do bear in mind that you will be sitting around for long periods of time and that air-conditioned conference halls can get chilly (so having a jumper or cardi in your bag is a good idea). And if you go for killer heels, you might be glad of a change of shoes for the journey home.

Find out if their is a dress code for the event. This is the Janet Murray team, but don't worry, the delegates don't have to match the look!

10. Design your follow-up strategy (and block out time for it)

It’s easy to leave a conference full of brilliant ideas - that’s what events are all about. Sadly, it’s just as easy to get bogged down the minute you get back to your desk,  forget everything you’ve learned and not follow up on the opportunities you’ve created. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally as soon as you get back to your desk) to reflect on what you’ve learned and follow up on the connections you’ve made.

Like the idea of starting 2020 with a content plan for your business? Why not join me and an inspirational group of like minded people at #2020 Sorted in November. Book here

 

Seven reasons to attend live conferences and workshops

If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth investing time and money attending workshops and conferences.

Here’s seven compelling reasons why you should:

1.You learn new things

You can learn a lot from reading books, listening to podcasts and connecting with experts on social media, but nothing compares to meeting them face-to-face, being able to ask questions and have conversations.

Investing the time and money in a public speaking workshop with the content marketing expert Marcus Sheridan didn't just help me hone my speaking skills. It also helped me form a relationship with an expert whose work I’d admired for years and led to this fabulous speaking testimonial on my website.

I invested in public speaking training with Marcus Sheridan in November 2016. Here I am with him at Inbound 2018 - where we were both speakers at the event.

2.You make great connections

Social media is great for networking, but there’s no substitute for meeting people ‘in real life’. A good conference will give you plenty of opportunities to mingle with both the speakers - and like-minded business owners - over coffee, lunch and drinks.

After attending my last live event, Content Live, dog photographer Kerry Jordan and Quirky Campers founder Lindsey Beresford collaborated on an Instagram competition that help Kerry add 1.5k new email subscribers to her list. Attending a previous event, Kerry was inspired to start her own awareness day  #nationaldogphotographyday - which not only helped her go viral on Twitter, she also landed a guest spot on my podcast.

PR expert Amanda Ruiz met author Christine Clayfield met PR expert at my one of my recent live events. Christine hired Amanda to handle the PR for her book launch....and landed tons of high-profile press coverage a result.

3.You meet experts and influencers, face-to-face

Not every conference offers you the chance to meet your business idols in person, but when you’re sharing the same space for the day (or longer if you’re lucky) your chances are vastly improved.

Attending live events has given me the opportunity to meet many of my business heroes, and invite them to be guests on my podcast, including the video marketing expert Amy Schmittauer, Instagram expert Sue B Zimmerman and social media expert Mark Schaefer.

Building relationships with the organisers of these events has also helped me land some high-profile speaking opportunities, including the Content Marketing Academy in June 2017 and the Youpreneur Summit in November 2017, as well as Tribe Conference in the States in October 2018 and the Marketing Business Summit in Milan in November 2018.

Attending live events helped me get booked to speak at some high-profile events including the Youpreneur Summit

4.You pick up new ideas

When you’re working on your own, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut - doing things exactly the way you’ve always done them. Being in a different environment - with a different group of people - can give you a fresh perspective.

When I attended Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank event in the Philippines, I picked up an idea from one of the speakers - Lou Mongello that made me £10k - which represents a 100% return on investment.

After attended one of my live events, handbag and accessory designer Jen Hamley generated £13k of sales after being inspired by a conversation with one of the speakers. She also landed a guest spot on my podcast.

Hanging out with Disney and online marketing expert Lou Mongello (far right) at a conference led to 10k in revenue for my business

5.You create content opportunities (and save money)

I’ve met dozens of experts at live events who’ve ended up being guests on my podcast and/or delivering masterclasses to my membership community the Build Your Audience membership - saving me tons of time (and money) in the process.

These include: Ian Anderson Gray (Facebook Live), Livestream Katya (Livestreaming), Colin Gray (podcasting), Gavin Bell (Facebook Ads), Kate McQuillan (Content Marketing), Phil Pallen (branding), Julie Christie (Photography), Pete Matthew (Business Blogging), Chris Marr (Content Marketing), Amy Woods (Content Repurposing) & Lucy Hall (social media).

It's not one-way traffic of course; I've reciprocated with podcast appearances, masterclasses and other kinds of help of my own. But just think how much it would have cost me to buy in all that expertise.

I met speaker and time management expert Amy Schmittauer at CMA Live back in 2016 and she did an impromptu Facebook Live with me for my community. We've since shared a stage at the Youpreneur Summit in London and Tribe in Nashville

6.You invest in yourself

When you’re busy building a business, it’s easy to forget about the most important person - YOU. At the risk of sounding cheesy, when you invest the time and money in your own learning and personal development, it’s a powerful reminder that you are worth it. Because you are.

7.You make new friends (and have fun)

Running your own business can be a lonely existence and most entrepreneurs I know regularly put in long hours. Taking some time out to relax and socialise with like-minded people is good for you and, if you’re anything like me, your biggest breakthroughs often come when you’re at the bar.

I met Andrew and Pete at an event I was attending back in 2015 and now count them amongst my ‘business besties’.

Over the last few years it’s been a pleasure to watch friendships like this grow in my own community - the Build Your Audience membership.

Having people in your life who understand you and your business - and can support you through the bumpy times - is invaluable.

Join me at #2020 Sorted in the East Midlands on November 14 & 15. Book here.