By Richard Evensen
This is a test. Meet and talk with a massive group of people for 6+ hours, about a wide variety of topics (some of which you know nothing about), have a few drinks and some food, collect a ½ inch of business cards … then try to remember who everyone is and what your purpose in talking with them was!
For ARF re:Think attendees, you get to repeat this test for another 3 days, by the end of which you’ll have accumulated a thick stack of business cards, a head full of all kinds of conversations and ideas, a belly full of tasty treats and various libations and a mix of euphoria and exhaustion from which you will do … what? Why was it again that you came to re:Think?
Whatever your business, level in your company and personal plan, it’s crucial to not lose sight of WHY you are at this (or any) conference. To help you optimize the ROI of re:Think, focus on what you are looking to gain out of this investment. Based on my conversations, the key goals and expected gains from re:Think are to:
- Re:sell. Yes, there are a variety of sales professionals and others hoping to meet new clients and build their sales pipeline. Does it work? Based on the amount of stories I heard about new client connections being made at previous re:Think events, I would say yes … but the clear guidance was that this this is the time to connect, not sell.
- Re:connect. Research can sometimes be a lonely profession and so it’s nice to connect with others who get excited by data and are willing to debate methodologies and the value of social media and mobile. There are also lots of good career connections which seem to be made so don’t underestimate the personal ROI possible at these events!
- Re:work. Some people come to re:Think to see if there might be technologies, processes or strategies to do what they’re already doing better. They don’t necessarily come with pre-conceived plans but take a “what could this do?” approach to every encounter. Interestingly, they do seem to walk away with a list of things they want to reengineer.
- Re:imagine. A fairly small, but highly passionate, minority of the attendees I spoke with come here to try to get a peek at what the world will be like 5+ years ahead. They’re disrupters looking to get the jump on the next big wave so that they can be the advisors to the rest of the industry which will have to figure it out.
For those starting their re:Think journey, which of the paths outlined above align best to your goals? Are they a mix and/or are there other goals which are more important than these?