We are just a little under or a little over one month from two different conferences that are attended by many accountants, bookkeepers, business consultants and advisers. QuickBooks Connect at the start of November, and the Sleeter Conference a week or slightly more thereafter. This article isn't an advertisement for either of those, but rather a potential alternative for those not planning to attend either.
If there is one thing I have heard from conferences such as these, as well as Scaling New Heights, and even the Sage Summit, it is that among the best outcomes of attending such events is the making of new friends, the development of new business relationships and the sharing of experiences. Collectively these tend to be referred to as 'networking'. Even the 'virtual conferences', like the recent Intuit Accountant VCon, offer the opportunity to network with others attending (in a virtual lounge and via the 'chat' mechanisms). There is nothing really like the networking that conferences afford, even though they provide a wealth of educational sessions covering a myriad of topics. But I am here to tell you that there is an alternative, or at least in my way of thinking.
Have you ever just dropped in on an old friend, stopped by their place of business or perhaps even their home, and been surprised what a wonderful reception you received, how much you learned, remembered and shared during that short time. Well the same is true when you 'stop by' a Woodard Group (formerly known as NAN Chapter), especially one that isn't your own (home group). Take the time to visit a different Group to see what you can learn.
Now as things have it, I was recently invited by Stacy Mueller and Shari Aronson to make a presentation to the Chicago 'gang', as I will affectionately call them (I mean after all this is Chicago, the home of the likes of Al Capone who once said, "...to the Feds it's bootlegging, but on Lake Shore Drive, it's hospitality." ) Even though I was doing the presenting at tonight's meeting, I feel in many ways from the participants questions and commentaries, as well as the 'after meeting' hospitality time, that I was bootlegging a lot of great ideas, and making some new friends and definitely building business relationships.
I have mentioned previously in other blog posts that I have attended a few different Woodard Group meetings in different cities across the U.S., and every time, whether I am presenting, or just attending, I always come away with the same feeling. I have 'grown' from the experience (and tonight was no different, and I don't just mean from eating slice after slice of a Chicago Pie from Lou Malnati's (that's Chicago style deep-dish pizza if you didn't know.) Each meeting has been a 'wealth' of learning in so many ways.
The next time you are traveling, take a gander at the Woodard Group calendar and look to see if there is a 'Group' meeting in the vicinity of where you are headed, then just 'drop in' and say 'surprise' (as you would with that 'old friend'). I will guarantee that you are welcomed with open arms, and that you will walk away with one GREAT experience, including new friends, new business relationships and shared experiences that benefit both you and those within the Group.
So let me see, I wonder 'what Woodard Group' I can drop in on unexpectedly before long...who knows, it might just be YOURS.
Thanks again to the Chicago Gang for the Invite.