Virtual or in-person, there are always ways to prepare for the TpT conference ahead of time. Listen in for quick, easy tips that you can put into action ASAP. In this episode, I recommend Chrome extensions, downloading opportunities, and more!
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Introduction to the Episode
This is going to be a super-fast one today and you know I love quick wins. We’re talking all about how to prepare for the TPT conference. Now funny story, I did a similar episode last year and it was right before we knew whether or not the conference was going to be virtual or in-person. So I did this whole great episode about ways to prepare and get ready for the TPT conference. But it geared towards being in-person. So as soon as we realized that the in-person TPT conference was not happening, that session was taken off air and now has become the mysterious missing episode number 19. So in order to give episode 19 the respect it deserves, we are bringing it back a few episodes later to talk about the virtual TPT conference and how you can prepare for that.
Register for the Conference if You Haven’t Yet!
If you have not yet registered for TPT Forward 2021, it is virtual again and you can still buy tickets. You can go to the TPT website and they have a link right at the top. And I have to say that when I first heard that it was going to be a virtual conference last year, I wasn’t thrilled because I definitely prefer in-person conferences. And that’s coming from a hardcore introvert. But I still think the in-person conferences are the way to go. However, after seeing how last year went, I’m kind of excited for this virtual conference. I’m focusing on the benefits of the virtual aspects. Because last year, I realized there were a lot more upsides to having it virtual than in-person. So I’m really looking forward to this year’s conference.
Past TpT Conferences
I’ve been to three conferences, well, four including last year’s. I’ve gone to the one in Orlando, Nashville, and Austin, and then last year’s virtual conference. This will be my fifth official TPT Conference and I really can’t wait. It’s like one of my favorite weeks of the year. I think that one of the benefits of being virtual is that, for starters, it’s more accessible to people. It’s way less expensive and I think that’s great especially for people who are just starting their TPT journey.
The Benefits of a Virtual Conference
Because when I first started, there’s no way I would’ve been able to afford the costs of not only registering for the conference, but also travelling for the conference and all the accommodations that come along with it. So I love that it’s a lower price point and more sellers are able to access it. I also love that this conference is self-paced. You’re not pressured to go to sessions in person like you are at the actual conference. So you can watch them on your own schedule, on your own time, and at a pace that feels right for you. Because we know that conferences, virtual or not, can be really overwhelming. So having that option to do it at your own pace is wonderful.
And like I said, I am an introvert. So if you can relate, the virtual conference definitely offers benefits that in-person conferences don’t for introverts like us. If you are someone who cringes at the idea of going to in-person sessions, then this conference is definitely for you. But even if you are an extrovert, this conference is for you. There’s going to be something for everyone.
And finally, the thing I really enjoy about the virtual aspect too is that we have longer access to sessions. There are so many times that I go to the TPT conference in person and I get so much out of the sessions and I am just like soaking it all in. But after a while, it gets really hard to keep up with the information. My brain starts to turn off after a certain point. So I feel like having access to the video sessions for the whole month of July is awesome. Not only is there not the pressure to watch every single day all the sessions, but you can also go back and re-watch sessions which I think is extremely valuable.
How to Prepare for the TpT Conference
I wanted to just give you a couple of tips today about ways to prepare now for the conference. That way when the conference week rolls around, you feel prepared and you are ready to dive right in. Because even though virtual conferences require less prep than in-person conferences, there are still things you can do today so that you are just ready on day one.
1. Download the Handouts for the TpT Conference
So the first thing I think we should all be doing is to download the handouts from TPT. Follow the store called TpT Conference in order to get access to the resources. As soon as the seller handouts that go along with the sessions are created, they upload those handouts to the TPT Conference store on TPT. So you can go to their store right now.
As of this week, handouts are being uploaded and you can download them for free. And it doesn’t matter if you’re going to the conference or not. This is the case every year. Anyone who wants to can download these handouts. So I strongly recommend doing that even if you’re not signed up for the conference yet. Oftentimes these handouts are going to have things like important information that’s going to be included in the presentation. Some sellers will offer you links and other offers during their sessions. So you definitely want to make sure you’re not missing out on those things.
2. Download the Video Speed Controller Chrome Extension
Now the second thing I would recommend doing, and this is a tip that I learned from Katie on Team SOS, there is a magical little Google Chrome extension called Video Speed Controller. And you guys know I’m all about efficiency. So this one speaks to me. I’m not sure what the platform will look like this year for the virtual sessions. But in the event that we are not able to speed up the videos for the sessions, Video Speed Controller extension is going to do that for us. It’s safe. It’s legit. And what it does is give you the ability to speed all the videos up that you’ll ever watch online.
And I love this because usually our speed up options are like 1x, 1.5x, 2x faster and so on. But this one allows you to break it down into even smaller increments. So if you are someone who is like, wow, I’d really like if I could speed this up like 1.75x. Two times faster is way too fast but 1.75 would be ideal. Well, then this one is perfect for you because you can really hone in on the exact speed that you’d want. So I am definitely getting on this as soon as I wrap up this episode because I am all about speeding up anything that I’m listening to. I don’t like it super-fast, but I find that usually people talk a little slow for my liking. I think I’m fast talker. So you might not want to speed up my session. But it’s just a good option to have if you are short on time and want to make the most of every single session.
3. Pick a Focus and Make a Plan for the Week
Now the next thing that I would recommend, and this one’s kind of hard because I am not very good at this I will admit, is to pick a focus and make a plan for the week. Even though you’re going to want to “attend” a lot of session, maybe even all of them, it’s really smart ahead of time to pick one area that you want to focus on. Then pick the sessions you want to watch most that are tailored to that area. Now that doesn’t mean that you only have to watch those videos that apply to that area of focus. But I find that having some sort of focus going into the week is extremely helpful.
Once you have that focus, let’s say you are going to want to focus more on email marketing or SEO or something like that, plan to attend the sessions that go along with that topic. And chances are whatever topic you choose, there will be hopefully a couple of sessions to choose from. But this way you know what sessions you definitely want to watch. Then you can schedule in the sessions that might not be tailored to that focus area but are more general and would apply to many areas of your business.
Consider Sessions That Can Apply to Multiple Aspects of Your TpT Business
In addition to watching sessions related to your main goal, I also recommend picking out a second layer of sessions that will apply to multiple aspects of your business. For example, I’m really excited about the brand-new session presenting. It’s material that I’ve never really talked about before, so it’s pretty new even if you’ve been to my sessions before or taken my courses. I would say it’s like at least 50% new information, but probably closer to 75%. Oh, I’m so excited! But anyway, it’s five systems every seller should have. And I’m using this as an example because it’s the one I know off the top of my head of course. But this is definitely a more general session because systems can be applied to any corner of your business, right? You can apply systems to email or your blog or things like that. So as you prepare for the TpT conference, definitely make sure to mix in a good balance of sessions that are tailored to your focus this year and also ones that are going to help you in all areas of your business.
4. Remember That You Don’t Have to Watch Every Single Session
Also, remember that you don’t have to watch every single session. Just because they’re available all month doesn’t mean that you have to watch everything. It’s still a lot of time and a lot to commit to. But when you go into it, make sure you don’t set too high of expectations for what you are going to watch. Because I did that last year and I felt so guilty for not watching all of the sessions because I thought, they’re virtual. Like why wouldn’t I take advantage of watching every single one?
But the truth is there were some that simply did not speak to me, had nothing to do with my business, and I chose not to watch them. And I’m fine. I lived to tell about it. But I will say in that vein, it’s really important to have an open mind when it comes to the sessions that are presented every year at the TPT Conference. I will say that I have had so many pleasant surprises by attending conferences and going to sessions that I didn’t expect to love and I ended up getting so many good things out of them.
So I would recommend, if you have the time, to also make sure you attend some sessions that you wouldn’t normally attend because I can almost promise you that you will get value out of it and maybe even something that’s going to change the trajectory of your entire business. You just never know where that gem is going to come from. So make sure you have an open mind but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to watch every single thing. Keep an eye out in the TpT seller Facebook groups for which conference sessions people are very excited about. If they love the session, people usually aren’t shy about sharing it with everyone else!
5. Follower Conference Presenters on Social Media
The next thing I would recommend doing is to follow presenters on social media. If they have an Instagram account or Facebook page or group, get to know them ahead of time online if you can. See what they’re all about. That can also help you narrow down your decisions about what you are going to be watching. A lot of times too, presenters will use these platforms ahead of time or during the conference week to share important information or like follow-up pieces to their presentation. But I just like getting to know them and getting a feel for what they’re about beforehand so I know if their session is a good fit for me. Now because we have access to all the sessions for the whole month of July, this part isn’t as important as it is for in-person conferences. But I still like finding other teacher sellers to follow. So this one definitely can’t hurt.
6. Join Us for the Nightly School of Sellers Chats During the TpT Conference
Finally, this is my last recommendation for conference week. I saved the best for last and this is definitely a biased opinion. However, this year, just like last, we are hosting our nightly video reflection/wrap-up sessions on Zoom the week of the conference.
To give you an idea of what this looked like last year, every night at 8PM EST, we gathered with members of the School of Sellers Facebook group. So literally the only requirement was that you are in our School of Sellers Facebook group. And we had an hour-long video chat every single night following the sessions for that day. And it was so awesome. We kind of met together as a whole group and then we used the rest of the time in breakout rooms on Zoom. So we were in a different breakout room every single night.
It was just so nice to be able to kind of like let loose and talk to other people who have been immersed in the conference that week. We talked about what we learned, our biggest takeaways, and also some questions that we had. It really helped to replace the in-person feel of the conference at least as best as we could.
And for anyone who’s listening, thinking like, oh my gosh, I don’t want to talk on Zoom to people I don’t know, it was truly one of the most beneficial parts of the conference last year. We’ve heard that from so many sellers who were like, we just got so much out of those sessions. It was so nice to be able to just chat casually and it wasn’t formal. It was totally normal and totally cool to talk to people who had seen the same sessions that we did.
Join School of Sellers If You Haven’t Yet and Invite Your Friends!
So like I said, the only requirement is that you are part of the School of Sellers Facebook group. If you are already in that group, feel free to invite as many of your seller friends as possible and you can chat together the week of the conference. We would love to have you. And it’s extra special this year because Katie and Ashley from Team SOS and I will be in Denver this year during the week of the conference. We decided to get together in person and be together so that we could watch sessions together and plan some School of Sellers stuff.
So we’re actually going to be together in person while we host those sessions this year. And they are so low pressure, so casual, just fun. Bring a drink. Bring your meal. Take some notes. Really whatever you want is up to you. We hope to see you there! And if you are in the School of Sellers group, we’ll have more information about that for you very, very soon.
So there you have it, my friends. I know that this year’s conference will be valuable. I hope that you put yourself out there and stretch yourself to learn about things that you don’t normally learn about. And I hope that you feel a sense of balance as you participate. Don’t overload yourself, but you also make sure to take advantage of the magic that is conference week even if it’s over the interwebs. Thanks so much for listening and I will see you guys here again next week!
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