I have a confession to make.
Sometimes I don’t take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been awarded. I’ll go to a conference, attend an event, or find myself in a meeting that I get absolutely nothing out of.
It’s not because the event was worthless. If that was the case, I would not attend, or I would leave prematurely. The real reason is that I wasn’t prepared.
Here are five techniques I’ve learned to use to make sure that I make the most of every opportunity.
1. I set expectations.
When I don’t expect anything, it’s hard to know whether or not my time has been well spent. By setting clear expectations and then “leaning in” to them, I make sure that I have clear goals and work hard to achieve them.
2. I have courage.
My natural introversion often gets in my way. I have to convince myself to be bold. By psyching myself up for a public event, I can build the courage that I need to make sure that I optimize my time.
3. I ask questions.
When I fail to ask questions, I fail to understand. I develop questions that deepen my understanding and help me engage with the content. By seeking clarity, I accelerate my own learning.
4. I give generously.
When I am selfish, I turn inward and fail to engage. I purposefully look for opportunities to help others get the most out of their experience. By giving, I build relationships, help others, and put into practice what I’m learning.
5. I get pragmatic.
When I stay theoretical, I risk missing the point. Very few events are intended to simply instill knowledge for its own sake. By purposefully looking for areas to put into practice, I ensure that my participation results in tangible benefits.
Full engagement requires more than attendance. Are you fully engaged in the things you participate in? If not, give these a try. If so, what techniques have you learned to engage more fully?