On maximizing the value of an invitation to Podcasters Paradise Cruise – or any other industry conference for that matter.
Just had an amazing call with THE John Lee Dumas to interview for the Podcaster’s Paradise Cruise in November, and it sparked this brainstorm.
You have to Begin with the End in mind, as Stephen Covey put it.  With that in mind, here is my 10 list for today.

10 ways to make the Podcast Paradise Cruise  as meaningful as possible (don’t miss the boat):

  1. Get into the VIP Group – this could change your life.  See this video post from Nick Unsworth on why paying for ACCESS was one of the most critical steps he took in his career. He also had a post about being at a dinner during the Genius network weekend, and they did something like dinner tab roullete (involves one person picking up the check), and how that really changed his perspective and increased his gratitude.  Couldn’t find the link…maybe Nick will post it in the comments. 😉

  3. Really understand why you’re there – what’s your WHY.  If you don’t have this piece figured out, chances are you didn’t make it past the interviews, but needless to say, the Why of your attendance will be critical when you’re tasked with deciding exactly how and with whom you spend your time during that week.  My answer to JLD on the #1 reason I want to go?  I want it to be a celebration of my breaking through my Podcastination and creating my freedom business this year.  No more waiting.  I’m grateful for the webinar this week that planted the seed, regardless of the cruise, b/c I’m more committed than ever to make this a reality.

  5. Along with knowing what you want to get out of it, be clear (with yourself and anybody else who listens) about what you can bring to it!  In my interview with John, I told him I’d been thinking about their (very thoughtful) interveiw questions, in particular this one.  And, while at first I was self-deprecating (in my head – I beat myself up more than any bully ever tried to), I realized that, Hey, I haven’t paid to attend a conference (in my industry) in 3+ yrs!  Why?  Because I’ve been able to hustle my way into being a PRESENTER.  Presenters don’t pay to attend, AND you establish immediate credibility with the audience (which generally means, in my case, more leads at the conference).  So, in terms of what I can bring to the Cruise, I am very clear on how I can help others be better networkers, presenters, and hustlers (especially in this niche topic) in the world of offline selling – of yourself, your product, your vision.

  7. Get to Miami/FLL early and hang out with others prior to the cruise – this will help ensure you’renot walking in “blind” to the experience.  Granted, there will be PLENTY of opportunities to meet others, and I’m certain Jared (Mr. Networker/connector) will create an environment of Maximum ease and comfort for the first day of breaking the ice, but in my experience it’s always better to have something in common with others prior to having jumped into the fire of the week’s activities.  A really good way to do that is the pre-conference, pre-cruise activities.

  9. While you’re at it, take a leaf out of Jared Easley’s book, and plan a Meetup!  That’s how he first met Mr. Dumas in the beginning.  To hear more about that experience (and some of Jared’s awesome story), listen to this interview  on Jeff Brown’s Read to Lead Podcast.  Meetups (pre-planned meetings around a specific topic with like-minded individuals, to MEET each other) are a great way to put yourself out there and create opportunities.  And business, as in life, is ALL about creating opportunities.

  11. I like to reach out to other attendees of conferences I attend and schedule specific time with them.  Not everyone takes this approach, but I think it’s been a critical factor to my success the last few years.  I expect the PP Cruise will be an intimate setting, even still it’ll be something I’m intentional about prior to the conference.  If there is a list published of attendees, you better believe Most of the ones I’m interested in meeting will have heard from me (even if only through a LinkedIn or FB invitation to connect) by the time we set sail.

  13. In the spirit of 10List, make lists leading up to the event of 10 ways you will help others, focused specifically on generating ideas that help one or more of the speakers, that you can share with them pre conference or during the conference.  The intention here is to really think about others.  In my experience, it’s a great way to help focus my research of the folks I want to meet at the conference.  What value can I add to their business, and how can I communicate that?

  15. Know your elevator pitch COLD.  When you get the opportunity to chat with that coveted attendee, speaker, new contact, the last thing you want to be hampered by is your answer to the always top-of-mind question, “so, what do you do” or “tell me about yourself” or “what new projects are you working on”.  This is Startup (or Sales) 101, but it’s critical to being a good networker and conference attending is ALL about networking (despite there being great content as well).  Let’s face it, you’re there, mostly, b/c you want to find ways to maximize your business (that is why you are writing it off!), so be able to clearly state (in 30 seconds or less) what you’re all about.  And, btw, with #7 in mind, if you DO get to meet one of the people you prepared 10 things for, and have yet to share them…here’s your chance and you’re super-prepared.

  17. Make sure you have prepared as well as possible for your ABSENCE from the day-to-day of your business.  Podcasts in the can – done.  Libsyn scheduling – done.  Social Media pre-scheduled – Done. Virtual Assistants have clear view on the tasks to keep the ship right while you’re away for the week – Done.  JLD actually did a great preemptive email before what I think was the first time he successfully pulled this off exactly one year ago when he went to Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank, you can read it here (sorry, couldn’t find it on his blog, perhaps was just an email to his list).

  19. After the cruise, don’t forget to share the love. Tweet about it, Podcast about it (of course), Blog about it, post your Flickr stream, etc.  A great example of how Chris Gillebeau continually drives interest for future World Domination Summits is by releasing the conference Flickr feed, and by sharing the “love” of all the bloggers who write about the event the ensuing weeks after it happens.  It’s a great way for those who were there to re-live it.  In fact, one of this year’s presenters, Mr. Andrew Warner, was a speaker at a previous WDS and his talk was posted on the WDS vimeo site and many bloggers had written about it – it was one of the reasons I signed up to go the following year.  PP Fearless Leader Mr. JLD also did this well after the aforementioned Tropical ThinkTank, and you can read it here (again, evernote link, I think it was just to his email list).
    So, You never know who you can influence until you PUT IT OUT THERE.  And, of course, when you share the love, the world is enriched, and people are grateful.  And we all want more gratitude in the world.

  21. Bonus – know all the words to this song (On a Boat).  Warning – explicit.  For the record, I think the Co-Hosts Jared and  Dan should definitely do this as part of the entertainment.  I volunteer to coordinate practice, and to be the “Landlubber”.

  23. Bonus Bonus – download it to your phone and play it continuously during the cruise.


After looking back over this list, it is actually a pretty good list for just about Any conference you’re attending.  Hope it’s helpful.  I’m grateful for JLD and the Podcasters Paradise Cruise for inspiring today’s list.  Happy Friday!SW_BlakeBronstad