The 30th annual California Women's Conference (CWC) took place on May 10th and 11th in Long Beach, CA. And I finally attended!
I had heard of the CWC many years before, back when Maria Shriver was organizing it. As the President of the Raytheon Women's Network at the Fullerton site, I had opportunities to attend as a VIP, sponsored by Raytheon. However, due to work schedule and the fact that at that early stage in my career I did not have the courage to ask for time off for a conference, I did not attend.
This year, I set my heart on attending. It was sponsored by Women Network, LLC which was founded by Michelle Patterson. They had an extensive line-up of speakers from various backgrounds. As you can read in Lois Alter Mark's article, they had messages of motivation, empowerment, and call to actions to step up as leaders. We even kicked off Thursday's event with a dance party on stage. And yes, I was up there movin' and groovin' to Uptown Funk.
My biggest take away came not from what a speaker SAID, but what a speaker DID.
And that speaker was Forbes Riley.
Forbes is an award-winning TV host, author, motivational speaker,entrepreneur, and one of the nation’s leading health and wellness experts. And she is ONE AMAZING SALESWOMAN!
Forbes was set to speak on Thursday, the 2nd day of the conference, on a stage at the end of the exhibition hall. That mean she wouldn't have an enclosed space, the way the speakers at the main stage did. She would be competing with the noise of the vendors and exhibitors. Not to mention, although the stage was called the "Connect Stage" on the agenda, the map did not have the Connect stage identified.
And Forbes was aware of this. She knew what she was up against. So she prepared.
She prepared a 1 page flyer - black writing on a white page - advertising her speaking time, clear directions on where it was, and a catchy reason why everyone NEEDED to hear her speak. She had her people hand out the flyers to almost all the attendees, place them at the tables and chairs in the main stage, you name it.
She sold her time slot like crazy!
And it worked. People attended. And from there she sold her upcoming conference. And people hurried over to her team to register.
That is what a leader does. A leader takes the circumstances and resource they are given and makes the best of it. They think beyond the obvious, and create winning opportunities.
That's what Forbes did. She took less-than-ideal circumstances and lead her team to a successful speaking event (and I am sure a successful sales event as well).
And I was inspired.
So what did I do? I decided to sell myself. I was selling myself as a future speaker, as a potential coach, and as a potential teacher.
So I talked to as many people as I could. I introduced myself to the vendors. I made eye contact with other attendees, and struck up conversations. All with these 3 intentions:
1. Make a connection.
2. Make an impression
3. Start a relationship.
The end result? I have 4 potential speaking opportunities, 2 potential affiliate partnerships, and one potential workshop.
Always be selling.
Forbes didn't need to sell. Yet she chose to. And she threw herself wholeheartedly into it. So I took that lesson learned, applied it extensively, and created so many new opportunities for myself.
Now, you might not be selling a product. But, if you are leading a team, you are selling yourself as a leader. You are selling yourself as a manager. You are selling yourself as a competent, capable business person. Are you aware of the sales message you put out?
Are your actions inspiring others to trust your leadership or to doubt it?
Always be selling! That is my key take away from the CWC.