The general consensus amongst the professional-minded is that attending a Business school is a sure way to build valuable business skills, earn more income, and build valuable networks.
However, the learning process can present itself in other circumstances; on the job, whilst you read, or even in daily interactions with others around you, even in such seemingly pedestrian activities such as watching a movie.
A type of learning referred to live learning typically occurs in a predetermined environment, where you, the learner, acquires knowledge consciously or unconsciously.
A typical environment where live learning occurs is at business events. While there is a high density of business schools today where people acquire useful skills for business, there are also business events where people are getting similar skills.
You may be surprised by how much you can learn from business events, and even how quick and practical it can be. The magic here is: practical (or experiential) learning is far more effective than theoretical learning due to human nature.
When you engage in practical learning, the theoretical aspects of the skills becomes better assimilated. This allows you to understand the newly acquired skill better.
We identified ten skills, all of which are important to your growth strategy whether as a business owner or career person, that you will learn by attending business events. The skills can take you to place and also accelerate your learning process.
Here are some of the top skills you can build from business events:
1. Selling skills
You are bound to meet owners and staff of successful businesses at most business events. Often, such skilled sales persons will be present to share their knowledge and experiences, of which sales and customer related issues, usually take center-stage.
Other business owners may also run exhibitions or trade shows of their products and services at such business events, or event owners/sponsors may exhibit their own products and services right at the event.
While you are caught in the atmosphere of sales at the event, you assimilate few ideas and strategies on how to sell your own product/service. You consciously or subconsciously learn from how other people are selling to their target market right in front of you. You may also see firsthand how targets respond to sales activity.
2. Networking skills
Business events are the perfect places to get your networking game on and in most cases, networking breaks are always part of the programme of events.
The organizers and attendees of such events, especially businesses, look forward to meeting new people and forming useful relationships and connections. It makes perfect sense for them to do exactly this, because business events are usually crowded with people and businesses who share similar interests in the event theme or topic, or who are working on ideas closely related to the event theme or topic.
Chances are that you may meet someone at the event and get talking about what you are both working on or interested in. Conversing with networking pros could reveal how to find cues and learn new strategies to help you build a huge network of friends, mentors, motivators, influencers, business partners and customers.
We would like to mention that to network successfully at events, you must make full preparations such that you do not appear pushy or incoherent to your audience. It is mostly important that you come across as polished and goal oriented for people to take you seriously and pay attention to you. Check out this guide to help you prepare for networking at business events.
3. Presentation skills
If you attend a business event, it is most likely that you would be greeted by a speaker and a set of presentation slides laid out on a screen or canvas at the backdrop of the stage or hall. At such events, presentations help organizers and guest speakers communicate clearly and effectively with the crowd of attendees.
You could learn how to organize your thoughts and message more effectively too from hearing and watching a speaker discuss at an event. If you picture yourself in the position of the audience you might be speaking to sometime soon too, you could figure out what works best and what has little impact in the communication process.
In some events, someone might be called out from the crowd to contribute to the discussion, and that might just be you. Since you are not an expert at making presentations yet, stepping out to talk at an event might walk you through the experience once and help you quickly get the hang of making spectacular presentations.
4. Motivational skills
Many business events are commonly geared towards encouraging attendees to either gain new knowledge, develop new skills, adopt new practices or enter new relationships. The organizers usually do this by inviting experts and people with testimonies and success stories to talk to the audience.
Scientific study of the human brain reveals that the brain releases dopamine when meeting new people. Dopamine is an organic chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. It plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior.
What happens when you sit among the audience in this sort of event? The synergy dished out by the organizers and the series of speakers at the event tunes up your vibe. Apart from being motivated yourself, you would somewhat start to realize the sheer value of motivation on people in general.
This sticks with you and becomes useful when you or other people around you are unmotivated. Maybe it is the new project you are thinking of venturing into or the monthly target your team is expected to hit by the end of the month. You would know exactly how to wake the can-do giant sleeping in you or your teammates.
5. Leadership skills
The fuss at that event you just came out from was amazing and it was put together by the event organizers. You might have set your sights on some of them at the event.
The whole team is usually directed by one individual, who is the leader. If you ever preempt being a leader one day, you could learn a lot from understudying this persona for the duration of the event.
Watching other people do something is a fast and better way to learn, however be careful not to follow blindly though. You will need to be able to sort everything you observe the leader do into successes and failures. Then learn as much as you can from both. There are always useful lessons somewhere in between these successes and failures.
6. Teaming skills
The theme of business events varies. Not all events are speaking sessions. Many of them are training and gaming sessions where attendees must team up to do certain tasks or face certain challenges.
If you are familiar with TV shows back in 2008, Dragon’s Den was a business game show where a group of contestants participate in a business challenge. More recent business game shows such as The Next Titan and The Amazon Project gives you exposure to a lot of team drills to help you hone your teaming skills. Such business events allow you to engage in teamwork in a simulated business situation.
7. Time Management skills
Most of the activities of a business events are usually broken into distinct activities with each activity respectively designated to fit into a specific time duration.
The event organizers know the value of time and what it means for everyone. Even though they may wish to keep the event session running for as long as they please, they still know that their guests would have their time billed for other things.
You would not only notice how conscious and prudent the event organizers are about time, you would also see how several activities can be better fitted into a fixed timeline and accomplished without any slack. You probably never knew that time that effective time management exists in the real world.
Now that you have experienced effective time management at a business event, be sure to apply it your daily affairs, even in the smallest ways. And before you know it, you will become a master of punctuality.
8. Financial Discipline and Prudence
Just as time is a finite resource, business event organizers also have short supply of financial resources to put up the event. No doubt it can be a harrowing experience trying to balance expenses against income from the business event.
How they get through this would be a miracle. Not so?
Yes, sure it needs a miracle. But the type of miracle needed here is financial discipline and prudence which translates to money allocation and expenses.
A typical budget may include items like event space, stage set, display and audio equipment, etc. Event organizers must make the wisest decisions here, they must spend money on the things that add the most value to the event and accrues the least cost.
They would avoid spending on trivialities. In the end, putting up a successful event that delivers drives home their message. With this, a business event is a good place to learn how to tailor your financial budget to be minimal and yet effective.
A lot of planning goes into executing a business event. Right from the conception of the event idea, the organizers draw out plans of actions to help them put up a successful event. The strategy embodies the actions that will lead to their goal of organizing an outstanding event.
Event owners/ organizers launch advertising campaigns inviting people to the event. The medium of advertisement is largely influenced by their target audience. For example, a digital marketing masterclass would want their adverts to reach people with digital skills, so their advert strategy would target people on the internet via various platforms.
A clear advantage of the Present Age is that over 3.2 billion people are using the internet these days. People are going online to search for business events to attend. Let us say you are planning to host a business event for digital marketers in Lagos, where would you want to advertise majorly? On the internet, of course.
But what if you are planning a business event such as an education fair for primary school age students and their parents who do not use the internet as frequently? You may have to send flyers to their schools, or put an ad on TV, if your resources permit.
10. Communication skills
There is a continuous flow of communication between the organizers and audience at a business event. They try to get their message across to the audience in the best possible manner.
Getting a message across to people not only requires speaking or presenting slides, listening and understanding are part of the requirement. So, this can be quite a complex task for organizers and speakers. They need to have good communication skills to manage the complexity to their advantage. This might mean switching frequently from speaker to listener too.
Some event organizers go as far as asking you for feedback after the event. That is strong communication at your fingertips from which you can learn to perfect your communication skills.
Wow! You have just discovered several skills you can build from attending business events. You can learn almost any business skill from business events. Whether its leadership, negotiation or hiring, all it takes is attending the right event.
How do you know it is the right business event to build your skill?
To learn effectively from business events, you should target events that are relevant to the niche you want to focus your learning.
Before choosing to attend the event, get to know the specific theme of the event, identify what it is all about. Then go ahead to analyze how the theme of the event matches with your learning interest. If there is a strong match, then you should aim for a front-row seat at that event.
Before you go, check out our events page for list of business events near you. Also, take a minute to subscribe so you don’t miss any update on new listings.