No this isn’t a promotion or giveaway for the latest conference. You probably wouldn’t win anyway. Who ever does?!?
Are you in a budget crunch and don’t have money for conferences? Or maybe you just don’t have time to get away from the office or the family for a week?
Well, you’re not alone and the facts of the matter are that you don’t have to be jealous over the youth pastor down the street who does get to go. In fact, you may be able to attend a better conference than him even without budget and conference time.
You can host your own conference, glean from some great wisdom givers, and not spend a dime or travel to do it.
How? Follow the 5 steps below to host and attend the best conference offered all year.
5 Steps to Your Best Conference Now
1. Set aside three days in the near future to work “at home.”
It’s important to get out of the office and away from what’s familiar. That’s one of the reasons conferences are so valuable. You can think outside of the normal pressures of day to day ministry.
2. Write down 10-15 of the sharpest guys you know
Seriously, write down your top 10-15 regardless of whether you think they will give you the time of day or not. You’ll be surprised as to how many will say yes that you thought will say no. Even if they can’t say yes to your preferred dates, if they are worth their leadership notoriety, they will at least have an avenue of leadership offering whether that’s book, webinar, blog, training cd/dvd, etc.
3. Write down 5-7 topics that are most pressing to you currently along with questions
Make a list of topics you would want at a conference. Write down 3-5 questions with each topic you’d want to ask if you had Q&A time with a conference presenter on that topic.
4. Call your list and ask for 30-45 minutes of their time on your specified days
Be flexible with times but ask if they are available on the days you have set aside. I would work at least 1 month out. As times begin to get filled in, offer time slots you have available during those 2-3 days you have set aside. The more specific you can get with busy leaders, the better chance you will have to get them on your “at-home conference” schedule. If you know a specific leader is more qualified in a specific area, tell their assistant you want to talk with them about ______ (ie. “I’d like to discuss campus ministry strategies and how to get on campus”).
5. Budget “process time” in your schedule
At most conferences, you will get 4-8 sessions of training. This is a reasonable amount of training time to shoot for. If possible, try to budget 30 or so minutes after each call to process and re-write the main takeaways from your conversation. Try to take away at least one actionable thought from each conversation. Finally, budget time after all phone conversations have been completed to debrief with yourself, your team, or your staff.
Now that you haven’t spent a dime or travel day on conferences and your boss or Pastor is happy, head on over to Starbucks and pick me up a gift card for this advice :)!!