Want to Get the Most out of GEWKC? Here Are 9 Tips from Pro Attendees, Hosts
Global Entrepreneurship Week - Kansas City 2021 features so many sessions and knowledgeable presenters that setting your agenda can be daunting.
But never fear!
There’s no wrong way to do GEWKC, but there are right ways to maximize your learning and connections. Take these tips from GEWKC veteran hosts and seasoned attendees to heart and plan for an inspiring and educational week.
1. C’mon. Get happy.
Some conferences can be a slog. We’ve all been to events where we’re lucky to walk away with one decent idea.
That is not GEWKC.
“Get excited for the excellent learning opportunities,” says Joyce Allard of Joyce Allard Communications.
Dodie Jacobi of Dodiodo sees great value in GEWKC and urges others to get on board.
“Decide to register for GEWKC,” she says. “You’ve never been in business too long to learn. Especially in marketing and technology, the pace of change requires your perpetual education. Although I have four decades of experience, what I learn at GEWKC sessions continues to influence how I build businesses.”
More pro tips below ...
2. Clear time.
Like anything else, choosing to concentrate on GEWKC can give you the most bang for your buck. Many people carve out time for particular events. But others go all out.
“Clear your week to focus,” suggests Dodie. “Clear the whole week with a plan to address any unexpected business crises after your day at GEWKC. You know it’s true: You will get what you give, so give this unprecedented annual learn-fest your full attention.”
3. Make a plan.
It’s a little harsh to say failing to plan is planning to fail. But creating an agenda for GEWKC will serve you well.
“My advice for a successful GEWKC week is to set aside a little time to plan your week,” says Eileen Bobowski of The Sewing Labs. “Set a game plan and then spend GEWKC week being inspired and not having to think twice about what to attend.”
Consider your goals, too.
“Make a plan for what you want to get out of the week,” suggests Marie Newell of Neat + Nimble. “What specific questions do you have? What connections do you want or need to make? Set your goals and make selections about which events to attend, how to connect beyond the GEWKC events.”
Your time is valuable – and so are your interests.
“I’d recommend that people plan ahead and save the time for their interests in their calendars,” says Frumi Rachel Barr of Scaling 4 Growth.
No matter what events you decide to attend, schedule time to consider all of the new insights.
“Plan in some downtime to process what you're learning and think about how you want to apply it to your business,” recommends Kate Hesse of NourishNestBreathe. “Don't try to pack your schedule so full that you become overwhelmed and miss the chance to digest everything!”
And go ahead and be the star pupil who comes to class mega-prepared.
“GEWKC is more than a week on your calendar,” says GEWKC veteran Justin Walker. “Sessions and presenters are announced with ample time to research companies and the people behind them. LinkedIn is a tremendous launching pad for your journey.”
4. Learn something new.
GEWKC is the perfect venue for stretching out of your comfort zone and trying new things.
“My biggest advice for attendees is to take advantage of learning something new,” says Sheila Watzlawick of Polkadotted Moonbeam’s Products LLC. “Sign up for the topic you know nothing about and something you think you know everything about. I guarantee you will walk out with new thoughts and perceptions!”
Linnca Stevens of The Sewing Labs agrees.
“I would say – have fun,” she reports. “Take classes that interest you but also stretch yourself to explore subjects that you don't think belong to your entrepreneurial path.”
“Follow your curiosity,” recommends Dodie Jacobi. “Even if you aren’t clear how you will use the knowledge yet, if a topic, story or speaker captures your attention, attend that session. The ones I’ve attended with casual curiosity have often had the most helpful takeaways.”
5. Be a good virtual citizen.
With many GEWKC events happening online, it puts a unique spin on what it means to be a courteous and effective participant.
“It's important to be intentional about your virtual presence,” says Rick Usher of The Usher Garage LLC. “Keep your camera on and mic muted when you're not talking; these visual cues that you are an active participant are encouraging to panelists and speakers. Use the chat and Q&A to actively engage as well as through virtual participation as the event allows. GEWKC is an excellent networking event so be sure to have your short bio and pitch honed precisely, and share your contact information freely.”
6. Ask questions.
There are no dumb questions – just presenters who are thankful for lively engagement.
“My tip would be to ask questions and participate in the conversation to get the most out of each event,” shares Christi Boyer of Pristine Pools - Kansas City.
Joyce Allard takes the recommendation a step further.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and briefly share your comments/expertise as appropriate,” she says.
Justin Walker also encourages this interaction.
“Presenters are there for your benefit and love questions that allow them to further explain their successes, processes or ideas,” he notes. And that engagement doesn’t end with the session.
“I'd say don't be afraid to ask questions during the events, and importantly, after the events,” suggests GEWKC host Chris Brown of Pixel Law. “Don't hesitate to reach out to the speakers. We're doing this to help, so emailing us after the event with a short question is totally fine.”
7. Make friends.
If you ever got in trouble for talking, you’ll be right at home at GEWKC.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and start conversations with peers,” says Jonaie Johnson of Interplay. “I would say start conversations off being curious and inquiring about what someone does or is working on.”
This curiosity will serve you well at GEWKC and well after the week is over.
“Connect with someone you don’t know, whether you are in virtual or in-person sessions,” suggests motivational speaker Marquita Miller Joshua. “Be intentional about developing a purposeful business relationship – relationship development is key to business growth. Your next business BBFF (Business Best Friend Forever) could be in the session you are attending. Go ahead – walk right up and introduce yourself or slip them a note in the chat box. Take the lead if you must because opportunity will be knocking!”
Getting to know other attendees can also help you work through key takeaways.
“Speaking with other attendees will not just help you process all you’re learning; you’ll get the boost of like-spirits in a range of circumstances to inspire and be inspired,” says Dodie Jacobi.
Finally, don’t forget that event hosts are people, too.
“Thank your presenters,” says Linnca Stevens.
8. Take notes.
Capturing information for later means every week can be GEWKC.
“In person, bring plenty of notepaper and take notes,” says artist Christianne Bohannon. “Plus, many of the presenters are kind enough to give their contact info for follow up questions – note that! Use your phone to photograph slides. It’s easier than taking notes.”
But highly effective notes extend beyond info and into action.
“Be sure to write down at least one thing you need to do as a result of each session you attend,” suggests Marquita Miller Joshua. “Time is money so you need to own the results of your time. The power of one can keep you from getting overwhelmed and doing nothing. This helps you eliminate excuses and obtain results!”
Julie Skinner of Destiny 100 Institute also recommends focusing on taking real-world action with the notes you jot down.
"Studies show that over 90% of people who attend a seminar do nothing in terms of using the information afterwards," she says. "Be in the 10% who wage war against The Forgetting Curve. You can do it. You were born to succeed!"
9. Follow up.
After GEWKC, the real work begins. Follow up with yourself, your notes and the people you’ve met.
“Review your notes from all the sessions and decide on an action you can take immediately,” says Marquita Miller Joshua. “Give yourself 24 hours to take a step towards the completion of that action. There is a time to talk about it, then there is a time to be about it. Whatever your action item, get it done!”
Justin Walker concurs.
“When GEWKC concludes, take some time to review your notes multiple times, then capitalize on that momentum,” he suggests. “Formulate new questions and identify your next set of goals. Then reach out to the team at KCSourceLink to make them actionable. If you were particularly moved by a presenter, send a thank you. Schedule a coffee with a fellow attendee you connected with.”
And while attending GEWKC takes time, making the most of it takes time, too.
“Over the few weeks after the official week ends, plan a minimum of a couple hours a week to apply what you’ve learned or further explore newly opened doors,” says Dodie Jacobi. “And if you don’t yet have a cohort of other owners, start one by inviting five others you met during the week to meet monthly for two hours about whatever is top of mind for each of you.”
Building your network and building your business may be easier than you think.
“Connecting afterwards via LinkedIn is effective in gaining further knowledge about a topic or a speaker and may assist you in finding your next big thing,” says Rick Usher. “You will also find that folks in the KC startup ecosystem are open to share – unlike the fabled 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, there are only 2 degrees of separation between you and the contact you need to move your ideas forward in KC.”
Bonus: Get more info about GEWKC.
You can review all the events and create your personalized agenda when you register for GEWKC.
Still have questions? Our FAQs have you covered. You can also contact us with inquiries. We look forward to seeing you at GEWKC!