I’ve just returned from a dream-come-true- trip to Europe with two of my best girlfriends Necole and Carolyn. When I told my friend Sandra Hart what we were doing, she recommended doing a “Hop-On, Hop-Off” bus tour. She told us that she likes to take the tour with out getting off the bus while making note of points and places of interest. She then goes back around and hops off at those places. We thought that sounded brilliant.We did one in Paris and another in London. It worked so efficiently and we were able to see the sites we were interested in.
The original reason for the trip was to attend a 2-day networking conference in England. However over dinner one night, we decided to make it into a vacation and do a bit of touring. On one of the last bus rides in London, it occurred to me that many networking events are quite like a hop on/hop off bus tour.
We first get the map of the tour… the agenda for the event. We look a little closer at the attractions and stops… the attendees and presenters. Once we arrive we have two options… take a mental, physical and visual survey of the area and then decide what and/or who we want to spend our time with (Sandra’s travel advice of going once around first). Or we may decide to be more organic about it and allow ourselves to linger where we may be interested and fully take in that moment.
There is no right way, it’s all determined by you. However what will bring you the most value? What will be the best use of your time? What will give you the results you are looking for? Again, that is up to you. If your goal is to meet that one person on the attendee list or attend that one session, then by all means, get on the bus and hop off when you reach that stop.
However, you may have a different goal, one of observing, learning and taking in. If that’s your aim, then you may find it advantageous to do like we did. Take the tour once and make note of people, professions and attractions you would like to spend more time with. Then, prioritize and strategize the route you would like to take.
Our trip was fantastic and I’m sure will inspire future articles especially from the conference itself. But the point of this article is the fact that in a short period of time, we were able to see a lot. We spend more time at certain places where we really wanted to take in more, the whole experience. Some places we had no interest in at all and of course a list of places we put on the list for next time (Yes, there WILL be a next time)!
So next time you are preparing for the next networking event or conference, determine your route, what you want to get out of it and then make a plan to accomplish your goal. You’ll be glad you did and your time will be well spent!
Have you Hopped-On or Hopped-Off? What was your experience? Please share below!
Jill Bode says
Great analogy! I’ll use this the next time I network (or travel).
Tara Schmakel says
Jill, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your loyal follow! 🙂