I freaking love getting to be a part of a creative community that continually provides SO much education to one another. Like, so. freaking. much. to the point where I’m constantly on the lookout for the next workshop, conference, online course, and so on the moment I’m home from the last! As I’m gearing up to host my first photography education workshop, Do the Most Workshop, with my biz and life bestie Jen Larsen this week, I wanted to share some helpful tips I’ve learned along the way as a workshop attendee!
I figured this one out pretty organically and accidentally actually, and I know it sounds silly, but I swear by it! I have seriously been doing this for years — camps, college/sorority events, photography workshops, etc. It can be super intimidating just to attend a workshop whether it’s an intimate setting with 10 people or a massive conference with 100+ attendees, let alone find the confidence to walk up to somebody new and make a friend!
Howevaaa, I would have my nails painted with some funky colors/patterns/themes and someone would always strike up a conversation about them! It was the easiest way to meet someone new because we had such an easy initial talking point! From there, you just chat it up further – keep the conversation going! Don’t just leave it at “thanks!” – take advantage that someone took the time to meet YOU!
Recently, for me, the talking point has become my glasses (before I broke them in half, oops)! They were a kind of yellow and black speckled Harry Potter look from Warby Parker, and so many people would come up and compliment them! It’s just proven to be the best way to keep the conversation going once someone else pops in to start it! Can’t guarantee success, but it’s worth a shot ;)! Wear a funky sweater, cute new boots, a statement scarf, etc. and rock it!
You could potentially be diving into education during a super busy time of year for yourself, so set a few days aside on your calendar BEFORE you attend the workshop to WORK on the things you learned. Don’t just say, “I’ll work on that the week I come home!” Block them off and don’t plan anything else for those days – this ensures you actually have dedicated time to implement allllll of the ideas that’ll be spinning in your head. You’ll be able to make things happen so much sooner rather than waiting months to maaaaybe get to your notes when “life slows down.”
Not just some generic ones, but questions that you absolutely NEED to know the answer to and won’t leave without finding out! There’s a spark of excitement and fun in not knowing every little bit and piece of what a workshop will be about (always nice to be surprised by new information you weren’t expecting to get), but it’s great to get an idea in advance (by looking at the workshop website, chatting with the host, meeting alumni attendees, etc.) and figuring out what key takeaways are your MUST haves! Set some intentions for the workshop for yourself so you know what you want to get out of it before diving in. You’ll feel certrain that you got what you came for and more if you get those answers!
Everyone is there for a reason. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. In fact, I hope you’re not the smartest in the room, so you learn the most you can from everyone else! You may not be at the SAME stage as someone else, but that doesn’t invalidate you or make you any less worthy to be there. You and alllll of the attendees saw value in being there regardless of what stage they’re at in their business, so let knowing that validate and reassure you that you’re in the right place!
Although it’s SO awesome to learn alllll the things from the workshop host themself, know that there is so much to learn from the other attendees, as well. That’s a huge reason why there is value in in-person workshops! Ask THEM questions throughout the workshop, during lunch, downtimes, dinner/after hours, or pose questions to the group as a whole if it’s relevant and timely to the content being shared! Make the most out of all the resources you have in that room!
Why or what do you love about THIS host that you really want to know to be able to implement in your own business? It doesn’t have to be everythinggg they do – you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) replicate them/their business entirely, but think about what it is that you love about what they do, so you can make sure to find out that information to take home with you.
You don’t need to implement everything you learn if it’s not everything you want to do. Pick and choose what works for you and what feels right for you. You don’t need to do everything just because somebody else does if it’s not something that aligns with who you are and what feels comfortable to you. Taking bits and pieces from every educational resource helps you piece together your business in a way that feels genuine to YOU!
This one is super simple – bring some little ‘necessities’ and then share them! You’ll be the freaking lifesaver for having gum when everyone has pizza breath after lunch or you’ll be the one who always has an extra pen when someone needs it! People will looove you for it, and again, it’s a conversation starter!
It will be tempting to implement all of the fun and exciting ideas and practices first thing when you get home, but it is so much more valuable for longevity and foundational success to set a plan for yourself that does the heavy lifting, legwork, and ‘less-fun’ work first before diving into all the shiny and exciting things! You’ll be happy to have something solid as a foundation before trying to scale and grow.
You may look at the workshop host or other attendees and question if you’re doing enough or wonder why you’re not where they are yet. Here’s the things, they’ve probably been working for yeaaars to get to where they are now, and that’s not just going to happen overnight for you. Be okay with the slow growth. Be humbled by the process. Work hard, consistently, and you’ll see the growth in time!
Take advantage of the workshop Facebook groups or just becoming friends on social media, and stay connected to the people you meet! You have no idea how they’re going to show up in your life again and again, and it’s so valuable to know people from all over the place! New friends everywhere!
I hope these takeaways from my experiences are super valuable to you and your next event! Let me know in the comments, have you been to a workshop before? What was your experience like? Do any of these tips stand out to you?! 🙂 Let’s chat!
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