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5 Proven Tips to get the most out of any Seminar

Seminar JunkieI was just speaking to a good friend on Tuesday and she was asking me about the number of seminars that I would be attending in the next few months. When I started to list them out, she immediately blurted out “Seminar Junkie!

You see, I have already committed close to $20,000 on various self-improvement, personal development and wealth creation seminars. No, I don’t have truckloads of money to burn (Not yet anyway). The reason for my supposedly irrational behavior is simple: I see it as an investment in myself rather than an expense.

Now, different people attend seminars or seminar previews for a variety of diverse reasons. Some of them are forced to go to accompany their friends/spouses. Others attend because they are curious.

Then there are those who are genuinely interested to learn and apply at least a tiny fraction of the knowledge gained, so that they can improve their lives. It is no wonder then that the same seminar can have such drastically disparate results on each and every one attendee!

For those who want to get the most out of any seminar, allow SJ the “Seminar Junkie” to share with you some proven tips:

1) Imagine you paid an arm and a leg for the Seminar/Course

When you have been to enough seminars, you would realize that the organizers always practice differential pricing. What this means is that you could have paid $500 to attend the seminar while the person seated near to you might have paid essentially nothing. In a bid to fill up seats, organizers typically resort to giving away free tickets and if you have the right contacts, it’s not difficult to get them.

The problem lies in the mentality of those who are attending it for free and those who have to part with some of their hard-earned cash. Who do you think will adopt a more serious attitude towards learning?

So, one of the tricks to getting the most out of a seminar is to imagine that you paid a ridiculously high amount of money to be there, even if you got the tickets for free. Go ahead and give it a try, you will definitely see the difference in your attitude and enthusiasm!

2) Know why you are there

Do you want to learn how to make more money or are you looking to seek clarity, focus and direction in your life? A lot of seminar participants suffer from information overload. That is because they try to concentrate on everything the speaker says and they end up knowing but not internalizing.

The second tip to getting the most out of any seminar is to list down the top 3 to 5 reasons you are investing your time and money there and the areas in your life you are looking to apply the new-found knowledge to. This will help you to become more focused and enables you to zoom into the specific topics you are especially interested in.

3) Empty your Mind

Imagine a glass that is filled to the brim. What happens when someone wants to pour more water in? The glass overflows. Now imagine going into a seminar, thinking that you already know a lot about the particular subject or worrying about what is happening at home, at work and even what you are having for dinner. What do you think is going to happen?

Do yourself a favor. Empty your mind of judgment, of unproductive thoughts and worries first. You will be more receptive to ideas and concepts shared and get more bang for your buck.

4) Participate in all the Activities

What’s the difference between reading a book and attending a seminar? Well, there are usually activities in Seminars that are designed to drill in certain concepts. Some of those activities may make you feel extremely uncomfortable and you may not want to participate.

But pause and think for a second: If you can’t even carry out such activities in a safe, encouraging seminar environment, would you ever be able to do it in the harsh, unforgiving world out there?

I challenged myself at a recent seminar by going onstage to share my experiences. It was a breakthrough for me. I can’t describe in words the feeling of having a whole room of people holding on to your every word, giving you support and encouragement, not only from their applause, but from their hearts. It is something you have to experience for yourself. And to do that, you have to be willing to challenge yourself, to step out of your comfort zone, and just do it.

5) Network, Network, Network!

At an internet marketing seminar last month, I got to know quite a number of interesting people. As I was busy making my rounds, exchanging email addresses and other contact details, someone behind me commented “Wah, you very busy collecting name cards hor”?

I turned around and looked at him straight in the eyes. Firmly but politely, I said, “You and I both paid $1,500 to attend this seminar. The very least we could do is make some new friends right?”

My words stunned him, momentarily.

Then as the seminar re-commenced, the usual silence behind me was gradually replaced by constant chatter. The gentleman I spoke to suddenly opened up and started talking to the people seated around him. I smiled to myself.

The very least we would do at any seminar is to make some new friends right?

Conclusion

To get the most out of any seminar, you need to have the right attitude and the right mindset. Start using the above tips at your next seminar and let me know how they have helped you!

P.S. If you have more tips to add to this list, feel free to leave a comment. =)

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Sam Chan says:

Thanks SJ for the great tips.

I also believe a lot in Self-Improvement. Money spent for Self-Improvement is definitely a great investment. However, one must get the most out of every books, seminar or tools paid.

Best Wishes

renzze: Thanks Ashley for sharing your own power tips! You are always welcome to hijack my comments area. =P

hanneng: Thanks for the advice. I am working on something in that area right now =)

renzze says:

I’m not a seminar junkie like SJ but I have had my fair share of attending seminar as a coordinator helping out my aunt who is a finance trainer.

SJ has most of the valid points to note about attending a seminar… but just to reinforce his tips… here are a few more.

1. Prepare. Read up on the topics before attending. It gives you an edge over the others cause you are there to absorb and to raise up the questions you’ve encountered while researching at the seminar instead of finding yourself asking questions a week later and not to sure who can answer.

2. Check if the organizer is reputable and credentials for value. Some seminars aims to earn your money without imparting you anything of real realistic value. They can be great marketers and hyped you up during the seminar but all could amount to nothing but scams that push you to strategies that hurt more than help you.

3. In relation to SJ’s No. 1 tip of going for free seminars. One thing many of the top executives that come for seminars have is that they were eager to learn and were proactive. They bring up the seminars they want to attend to their bosses and ask for sponsorship or subsidy offering to pay half themselves. During and after the seminar some of them would even update their bosses on the things they have gained and learnt without prompt.

4. Share your knowledge after the seminar. Being Asians we tend to have this mindset that ” I paid 3k for attending. These info are mine so if you want any go pay 3k yourself.” But the truth is when you share you learn and you reinforced what you’ve learnt. It also makes others more open to sharing other information with you. Besides, like what SJ has mentioned… if its free they may not remember to capitalize on it.

5. In tuned with SJ’s network tip. Don’t be late. Go early to just socialize. Mix around with different groups sit at different places and always follow up after the seminar. If not you’ll forget them as fast as they forget you. A little trick one of the regular seminar attendee used to do was to bring around his camera. He’ll snap pictures and afterwards he’ll email the pictures to the contacts he made with a personalized message. It gave him a reason to follow up and gave others a reason to remember him.

6. Last tip. This one is for the gals. Being female myself I know how we always want to look our best especially if networking is involved. But the important thing is to look professional and confident. So no micro minis and don’t wear your new 3 inch heels or you’ll be hobbling around and being too self conscience to enjoy the seminar to the fullest.

Thanks SJ for letting me hijack your comment thread. =)

hanneng says:

Hi SJ, thanks for sharing the tips. I learn from someone that, we can also use seminar to introduce our expertise to others.

For example, you’re IT specialist, tell people that you’re good in providing IT services, give your namecard to others too.

Maybe will bring you some income in future.