Is It Time To Stop Attending Conferences In Person?

Is It Time To Stop Attending Conferences In Person?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, LMA Leave a Comment

We’re going through a very interesting time with regards to business development and networking, and whether or not we should be doing that online or in person.

I think we need to have a conversation about what has changed in this world the past few years, and what you might need to think about.

Your Choice: Blog or Podcast?

If you would like to listen to my 6-minute, 46-second podcast where this blog post originated (faster if you speed up my voice in the controls), you can either click the green play button below or click here if you are reading this via email. If you prefer to read this via blog post, I have rewritten the podcast as a blog post below for you.

Welcome!

Welcome to Legal Marketing Minutes, where I share short bursts of current marketing news and advice. I’m your host, Nancy Myrland.

If we haven’t met, I’m a Marketing and Business Development Adviser, specializing in content, social and digital media, as well as personal branding, for lawyers and legal marketers. Your time is valuable, so let’s get started.

The one thing I want to talk to you about is what may have happened in your world, which I’ve seen happen to a lot of people, and even a little bit to me, within the last two and a half years. Has it been three years?

This COVID time thing is really weird, and it’s doing odd things to my perception of time.

I’m Okay. I Don’t Need To Go To Conferences Anymore.

During the past few years, I know that I got to a place where I thought, I’m okay, I don’t need to go to conferences in person anymore. They’re very expensive, and I’m really pretty visible during the year. I talk to a lot of people in meetings. I see my clients on video a lot.

After All, I’m Visible Throughout The Year

It’s true. I see my friends and colleagues on video a lot, and my visibility is very high, so I really don’t need to do that anymore. I’m not bragging. It is just the way I am wired, and the way I like to practice what I preach to my clients.

I figured that I don’t need to travel and go to conferences and spend $4,000 to $5,000 to do that.

Then Something Changed

Then my perception changed, and I want to talk to you about that because this may be what you’re going through as well.

The Legal Marketing Association, or LMA, has been my career-long, at least my legal marketing career-long, trade association that I’ve been a member of for a very long time. It is where I have met my best friends and colleagues.

It is also where most of my business comes from because of the relationships that I’ve built over time.

The #LMA22 Annual Conference

Our annual conference is usually in the spring. We didn’t have it in 2020 because, well, you know, COVID happened.

We put it off last year until the Fall. I still felt it was early, so I chose not to go. I think there might have been 300 people there. As far as ROI is concerned, it might have been a good decision for me. I bleed LMA colors, but I am also a businessperson, so I need to weigh my business decisions accordingly.

After last year’s conference, LMA announced that this year’s conference would be normal.

Normal?

I’m not even sure what normal is anymore, and I don’t dwell on trying to figure that out as I am one who embraces and often appreciates change. It is somehow in my DNA. What we all knew is that the conference was back on track for its Spring timeslot in 2022.

At first, I thought Las Vegas is a tough place for me to go to a conference. Because it is so big and so loud, the volume level of the common areas where we network in the Aria doesn’t feel intimate to me.

I was talking myself into not going. Again, I also thought that we weren’t going to be back at full capacity, so should I go?

I know full capacity wasn’t the expectation of the annual conference advisory committee either. Once again, I found myself evaluating the ROI. This is going to cost me $4,000 (ish).

I was in this mode that I have been in for the last couple of years with many in-person events and conferences, not just LMA, that I don’t have to do that. I’m okay.

I’m Not Going To #LMA22

At first, I thought, no, I’m not going to go. I’m going to wait another year because I have a feeling that in 2023, as long as there aren’t any wacky variants out there, it’s going to be back to near full capacity.

There was one deadline at the end of last year. I went ahead and registered (deadlines are effective). I thought to myself, okay, I have until early February to cancel and just get everything but the $150 administrative fee back.

I was getting ready to do that in early February because I was still convincing myself that it was too early, and that it wouldn’t be a full conference. Plus, once again, everything was going along okay. My business has been very healthy during, and because of, the pandemic.

I’ve become comfortable, even though I am a bit of an extrovert. For those of you who think that just means outgoing, it doesn’t. I am outgoing, too, but it also means that we get energy from other people.

I still get energy from other people when I see them on video, whether that’s a webinar, one-on-one training, or a big group, so, yes, that’s pretty extroverted.

Alright, I’ll Go To #LMA22. This Is What Happened.

At the last possible minute prior to the cancellation deadline, I decided I would go. I have to tell you, I am so glad that I did.

It was a very good decision for many reasons. One of the most important is that it is very hard to duplicate the energy that we as human beings get from other human beings. It is different when we are not physically with them.

At the conference, I kept saying “this is really hard to define, but this is pretty wonderful.”

You can’t have the same intimate or thorough conversations with people who are important to you, whether that is for personal or business reasons.

I came away from that experience thinking, thank heavens I made the decision to go!

I Encourage You To Think About This

If you have also found yourself in a position the last couple of years where you have been convincing yourself that you don’t need to attend live events because you’ve gotten used to this bubble that you’re in, and that you can network just fine virtually, or over telephone, email, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, then I encourage you to start to think outside of that bubble because relationships can be accelerated in a way that is unlike anything that you can do online.

Remember that I don’t say that lightly as I am one of the industry’s biggest proponents of business development using content, social and digital media. I’ve also said that I will never ask you to give up in person networking and that these virtual platforms and tools are complementary to your existing practices because they can shorten the relationship and reputation-building process.

You Don’t HAVE To Network In Person

I’m not saying you have to do this. I’m not telling you I think you’re a bad person if you choose not to. I’m just telling you that I want to encourage you to do what I did, and that is to step outside of this new bubble that we’ve all found ourselves in. Call it a comfort zone of not going out and meeting people in person.

The benefits can far outweigh anything that you may have been telling yourself is a good reason to not go to these conferences and these meetings.

If You Want To Talk About This…

If you want to talk about this, just let me know. There is no one right way for everyone.

I’m happy to go over my experience with you or to listen to whatever your concerns are because my goal for you is to be comfortable in your networking and business development efforts. That’s my job.

Do Me A Favor?

Well, that’s it for today’s Legal Marketing Minutes. Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic of going in person and out in public to these events, whether they’re small or large.

If you’re in a place where you can leave a comment, please do so as I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for spending a few legal marketing minutes with me. I know your time is valuable so I appreciate you spending a few of those minutes right here.

Until next time, I’m Nancy Myrland. Take care.

SPECIAL NOTE: 

If you would like to be notified when my hybrid live (virtual) and self-study course LinkedIn Course For Lawyers is accepting new students again (very soon), you can do that here.

Nancy Myrland Legal Marketing Consultant

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to establish relationships and grow their practices. Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, livestreaming, and Zoom and virtual presentation strategy and training. She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

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