Bigger is better? Nope.
Smaller conferences and retreats offer a whole lot of advantages over larger conferences. (That’s not to say I don’t participate and still attend conferences, because I do, but there's something magical about a smaller gathering.)
I created Inspired Retreat to be the opposite of the conferences I had experienced time and time again. I wanted to package up all the good stuff that I loved about attending workshops and bring it to other creative mompreneurs and business owners.
So, if you’re making plans this upcoming season to invest in a business learning experience, I’m sharing all the ways smaller conferences like Inspired Retreat are a better investment to the larger conference experience:
1. You'll form genuine connections who will become trusted friends.
Side conversations are where the good stuff happens. Big conferences are filled with hundreds of people, and, yeah, you'll introduce yourself to each other between breaks and exchange a dozen business cards, but you'll rarely have the opportunity to dig deeper. For me, the magic of Inspired Retreat happens on the sidelines... in the passing conversations between speaker sessions, in the long-lingering discussions in your pajamas after an inspiring Fireside session, or in the cheerful bantering during the trail hike.
2. Smaller class sessions = bigger breakthroughs.
In a big ballroom, there's very little time (if any) to get your questions answered or to approach the speaker because, more often than not, a huge line forms within 30 seconds of speaker wrapping up their talk. This was so frustrating to me at conferences, because it gave little chance to discuss the material that I was fired up about. It's one reason why the speaker-to-attendee ratio is so small at Inspired Retreat. With 12 speakers and 24 attendees, you have the opportunity to ask relevant questions, spark discussions, and generally immerse yourself in the experience.
3. The food is WAY better. (And your room actually feels like a home-away-from-home.)
If you've seen one hotel room, you've seen them all, am I right? Let's not even talk about how bland the room service tastes. When you attend a large, industry-oriented conference, usually only the essentials are included. At Inspired Retreat, and other smaller conferences, the hosts have more creative freedom with the space, the menu, and the accommodations.
4. The sessions will actually apply to your business.
Instead of a huge catalog of courses or session topics, you're going to find content that is more focused around your specific industry needs and wants. Hosts like me have already done a lot of research and devoted time to selecting actionable content and relevant topics for the experience. I'm not trying to please everyone with dozens and dozens of different offerings. I'm bringing YOU the things that YOU ask for in my annual surveys.
5. Divas need not apply.
There's nothing more frustrating than going to a big conference and knowing that you can't have any interaction with the speakers because they only came to speak, and they checked out before their discussion even ended. Smaller conferences have a higher likelihood of speakers being integrated with the attendees. At Inspired Retreat, speakers also serve as mentors during the entire experience, so they're learning and collaborating right alongside you.
The idea of being able to have a deep conversation with a speaker over a cocktail and charcuterie platter seems laughable at one of those larger conferences. (They usually charge more for this special privilege if it's even offered.) At Inspired Retreat and other smaller conferences, you'll find ample opportunities to talk to your favorite business owner about what you're envisioning for the future of your business.
6. It's more intimate, relatable, and supportive.
Most people in the room are going to be in a similar season of their business, with relatable behind-the-scenes struggles and daring goals pushing them outside their comfort zone. It creates an authentic, safe space for everyone to share. You're not going to need extra time to explain the backstory. They've been there or are there, right there with you... so you can jump right into unburdening the BIG things holding you back while others bravely share what has worked for them and what hasn't.
7. You won't be asked to buy a magical unicorn who creates rainbows with pots of gold at the end.
At larger conferences, speakers are often pitching products they sell throughout their session. And there's probably an oversized hall packed to the brim with booths of products and services that are "perfect for your business". Personally, I care more about actionable content than I do about the stuff that I leave with or more Investments that I have to make afterwards.
8. You'll leave with a solid action plan.
Speaking of actionable content, smaller conferences like Inspired Retreat are going to equip you with relevant strategies for your business. Their whole focus is in making sure you leave with a game plan. At larger conferences, I find myself taking pages and pages of notes, but rarely do I walk away with a plan of how or what to implement first.
9. You aren’t fighting for a good seat, they’re all good.
In a big ballroom, you enter and make a game plan: Either you're going to sit at the back because you know you're going to leave the session early or you're not sure if this is going to be really any good... or you attempt to find a seat towards the front to quickly hop in line for a meet and greet with the speaker. At a smaller conferences, that's thrown out the window. They are way more likely to have a more intimate setting and learning experience where every seat is truly the best seat in the house.
Join us this MAY!
Download the Inspired Magazine for all the delightful details about our 4-day implementation retreat experience.