You ever think about starting a business? Are you an aspiring artist (music, visual art, photography, videoegraphy, actor, etc…) looking for ways to better maximize your efforts? Already own a small business or have business concept and looking for ideas on marketing and navigating the evolving business world? Perhaps researching new ways to improve your branding?
These are some of the types of questions posed and answered at Giant Steps. I’ve been every year and each time I have walked away with valuable learned information and networking that has led to business opportunities.
Giant Steps is conference for professionals and aspiring professionals that speaks to most every career field imaginable. You will hear and learn from people in the world of music, restaurants, jewelry, fashion, film, radio, education, social media, theater, technology, law and so on. There are two primary points there that should jump out at you. Number one, no matter what your business is, there are more similarities with the others than you might realize. For example, some of the information that was most valuable to me didn’t come from someone in the music business, but someone in a complete different job field. I learned things from them that I was able to apply to what I do. Secondly, today more than ever, finding creative ways to market your business and grow your clientele likely involves collaboration and a successful collaboration with a partner outside of your normal circle, or in this case job field, can be a great way to attract brand new customers.
Here is what I would consider some of the best ways to maximize your experience at Giants Step:
1)Be present: Just get there. If you are wondering if it is for you are not then consider this; If you are not interested in going to work for someone else and putting your time and effort into someone else’s dream/company, then this is for you. You need to register/buy tickets for this event and you can do that on their website HERE.
2)Listen: If you are paying attention a.k.a doing more listening than talking, then I can pretty much guarantee you will learn something valuable/useful to you.
3)Network: While I suggest plenty listening, some talking is an essential part. There will be some amazing, insightful and successful people there, on the stage and even in the crowd. Talk to them, ask the right questions and then get back to #2…listen. Also, make sure to branch out of your comfort zone. It’s very easy to note familiar faces and hang out with them. This is a perfect day to connect with unfamiliar faces. Sit at that table where you don’t know anybody, you might make an important connection.
4)Come Prepared: Think about your biggest questions and greatest challenges beforehand. Then look at all the options of panels, workshops and discussions, as well as the people who are involved in them, and decide which best apply to your questions and needs. A list of speakers can be found HERE. However, remember the best information may come from someone in a different field than you. That has been my experience about 90%!
5)Maximize Your Questions: This is a fine tuning of the above point. A lot of times I find that people ask questions that are very broad and hard to summarize or pinpoint a simple answer. Other times the root of the questions are unclear and/or often times subjective. Try to think about the questions you are going to ask. Of course, you are bound to have tons of questions, or at least you should, but decide which are the ones you think are going to be best suited to be answered in this setting. Also, consider that based on the type of questions you ask you can inspire an answer more direct to your need or posed a different way you might open it up for personal examples from the panelists. Both can be useful depending on the question, but just think about what you are trying to get out of it and phrase questions accordingly.
Alright, I hope that helps and hopefully I’ll see you at Giant Steps next Friday! I’ll be there all day learning, sharing experiences, moderating a panel, and networking.