No business cards? No problem!

Business cards are a quaint reminder of how networking used to work. We’d do the meet and greet, exchange cards in hopes they will end up in the ‘special’ Rolodex, and then repeat. And repeat again. Any good salesman will tell you that this kind of approach is mostly a numbers game, so why not eliminate what you can in order to save the time and hassle of carrying around little pieces of paper with your names on them?

Don’t get me wrong, business cards are great as both a contact and branding tool. They give us a certain cachet, they often look really cool and they’ve long been standardized: making them affordable for nearly everyone in need of one. But we think that, especially at events, it can be done better.

Name badges with QR codes
We use a system that ties the QR code on your name badge with the information used during sign up or registration. This typically consists of name, company and email address, and can be edited via our registration app online. If you’d like to share social media or mailing address info, that’s as easy as adding another field.

QR code reader app on smartphones
At most of our events, our vendors can download a special smartphone app (which must be authorized through our software) that can scan badge QR codes and push that information into the database. Each vendor can add notes at the time they enter your contact information.

Double opt-in
This is the key step: each request for contact information MUST be approved by the person who owns it. We know it would feel rude to deny an interested vendor a name badge scan, so this step makes it easy for people to allow that while not authorizing the data exchange. Each person will receive a notification that links them to a list of requests to be approved. Pick what you want, ignore the rest. The vendors will then receive your contact information and be able to get in touch with you.

We know nearly everyone, especially conference attendees, carry smartphones, so why not save them extra space in their wallet with digital information exchange?

Rolodexes have always been a pain. Welcome to something easier.

What Are Your Conference Stages?

While event attendees may see conferences they attend as just a schedule of events, there’s no question a daily agenda is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning the flow of any good event. From speakers to booths and break-out sessions to Happy Hours, a well-run schedule is something every event planner should inspire to accomplish.

But that’s not the most important part of a conference. Nor is the venue, the speakers, or the giveaways. It’s the stages. According to Jeff Hurt over at Midcourse Corrections, the four stages of a conference experience are:

Consuming
Participating
Sharing
Reciprocating

Let’s break each of these down.

Consuming
This is the lowest level of conference attendance. In the same way that lecturing at students doesn’t do much for actual learning, slideshow presentations and product demonstrations usually have about the same retention. This is an integral stage for bringing everyone to the same level of understanding, and should not be skipped unless the group you’re inviting is handpicked.

Participating
Remember how we said the last stage was super necessary? The second stage doesn’t matter much if we’re not all playing with the same deck. Everything from speaker questions to break-out sessions depends on having the same base of knowledge. The inquiries are better, the conversations more helpful and the experience is fun.

Sharing
Now it’s time to show off, er, share what you’ve learned and done. In this stage, we take what we’ve learned in break-out sessions, product demonstrations and speaker presentations and show them to our coworkers, families, friends, social media contacts and blog readers. This stage is a redo of the first one — likely on either a smaller scale or a more intimate one — and many people stop right here.

Reciprocating
Here’s the real value stage. By consuming, participating and sharing, we’re able to create a better picture of how things can — often should — work. Want to implement a new registration system? This is where it gets done. Want to build off last year’s conference while blending techniques learned from last month’s? Here’s where that happens, too.

There are plenty of similarities between this and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Happy reading.

How Do You Promote Successful Company Culture?

There are plenty of companies that advertise themselves to potential employees by talking about perks. From flexible vacation time to catered meals and company retreats to sport courts, perks are a fantastic way to make workplaces more enjoyable. But unless your company culture embraces such amenities as perks and not the main attraction, those perks may wind up unused.

Infusionsoft takes a different route. Instead of constantly promoting their employee perks — though they have plenty worthy of bragging about — they celebrate their company culture, which includes both employees AND clients. The believe so much in this that they just had an event based solely on such, dubbed Culture Unveiled.

With the grand opening of their new Chandler location, Infusionsoft’s commitment to the people that make the company possible is commendable. While this kind of focus on culture just isn’t possible in traditional, top-down corporations, the flatness of Infusionsoft’s organization is what makes it possible.

While this approach has its occasional drawbacks, as it can be easier to have one authoritative figure making all the decisions instead of allowing employees to make the best decision for the situation, we’ve seen their organization in action at multiple InfusionCon events and know it’s absolutely the optimal approach for a company that thrives on helping small businesses succeed.

Straight from Joe Manna:

“We’re off to a great start this year! This morning, our team took a different commute to our new home in Chandler, Arizona. We’re still settling into our new offices, but here is an inside look at our new home. We’d also like to thank the numerous individuals and organizations who have helped us along the way.”

Congrats, Infusionsoft. Can’t wait to see where your company culture takes us.