Some VYVA members at the AVA Conference – we do love getting together!
Australian VA Conference 2019
Every year the Australian Virtual Assistant Associate brings together a 2 day conference for Aussie VAs and this year’s conference was held in Melbourne at the One Roof Conference Rooms.
Each year I do a write up of the event to share with you some of my key takeaways and to perhaps introduce you to some interesting new speakers.
The event is held over Friday and Saturday with a dinner on the Friday night. It consisted of 13 speakers plus the wonderful and vibrant MC, Suzanne Chadwick from The Connection Exchange. To be honest, I was hoping Suzanne was going to be one of the speakers, or keynote speaker, for the event like many of the previous MCs had been, but unfortunately we were limited to our exposure to the awesome that is Suzanne. Can’t get enough of this woman!
Our first speaker was Frances Pratt from Kiss to Sell. Frances has an amazing way of turning the perspective of sales around from icky car salesman to helpful provider of services. Her quirky delivery made sales more fun and I absolutely loved how she shared with us that we need to guide the sales process and ensure that we are helping the right people buy the right product.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”.
Second off the bat was Georgie Mahmoud who spoke about decoding your cravings. Unfortunately I missed this one (and one other session) so I can’t comment but here’s where you can learn more about Georgie – www.transforminghealthhub.com
Merrin Monroe then joined us after morning tea. Merrin is the Chief Geek at The Small Business Geeks. She admits however that she’s only really at medium geek level. During Merrin’s session I downloaded 4 new smartphone apps to try out to improve my productivity! I also learnt about autobots and started thinking about how they could better support my business and it’s audience. Merrin definitely got me thinking smarter rather than harder.
“Automate to avoid double handling”
Next was a Tapping, or EFT session with Fay Chang. This was the other session I missed (sorry folks) but you can find out more about Fay at www.facebook.com/budgeting123
Then it was time for Kylie Chown to talk LinkedIn. Rather than talking about the specific step by step how-to of using LinkedIn (which I’ve already learnt from Jo Saunders) Kylie shared more strategies around LinkedIn which was fabulous. Little things like recognizing that the LinkedIn Skills you have listed should include words you want to be found for in search engines, or saved search groups – things I hadn’t really considered for a long time, if ever. Great session!
“Are you leveraging tools to maximise LinkedIn efficiencies?”
After afternoon tea we heard from Pamela Griffiths on the topic of Mind Mapping. As someone who is very visual I love to be able to get my thoughts out there to see. As she was talking I was looking at her mindmap and genuinely didn’t understand it. However as she worked through her example mindmap it all became clear and I realised it was really rather beautiful and a great tool for seeing how your business is laid out.
Last speaker for Day 1 was Les Watson from Get More Time. Now I’ve heard from a lot of time management experts and I think I manage my time pretty well. But I had some pretty high expectations from someone who called himself a Time Lord – my Whovian loyalty kicked in and I needed him to reallt step up. 😊
Les was great. Yes he nearly broke a chair, but his points were definitely made! There is much about our ego that stands in the way pf productivity and he nailed this on the head. He explored the 4 Ds, the ESI productivity and some productivity hacks. Our mind can really limit what we can achieve.
My notes on my workbook?
“There is no square” – just like the Time Lord, I know what that means.
Day 2 started off with one of my favourite people ever, the amazing Sam McFarlane from Sam Says.
Sam is a social media and content manager and today she took us through some great tips on managing your social media and getting familiar with your content pillars. As someone who loves to talk, I find getting onto social media and speaking up pretty easy, but was I clear on my content pillars before today? No, I was not. But now I am! Thanks Sam!
“What do you want to be known for?”
After Sam was another great VA (yay! VAs for the win!) Ingrid Bayer from the VA Institute. Ingrid is all about VAs stepping up and providing excellent service. So today she worked through 6 important areas that need to be mastered to deliver excellence, along with the LCS strategy.
Her 6 areas included Attitude, Integrity & Honesty, Empathy, Respect, Reliability and Communication. Sounds simply but when you get these things right you can achieve amazing things in business for yourself AND your clients.
“Love, Challenge, Solution”
After a short break we were treated to a very interesting guest speaker, Jonathan Creek. Jonathan is an award winning journalist and creator of The Virable Formula and he was here to talk about creating viral videos. With plenty of energy he worked through the spread factor spreadsheet and curiosity/story loops. This session was full of gold and really helped me start to think about better ways to use video in my business. Make sure you check Jonathan out at www.jonathancreek.com.au
“Only the ‘feeling brain’ shares”
Paula Sullivan from Possum Digital then walked us through Facebook Advertising. We explored Facebook pixels, campaign objectivies, target audiences, ad types and how to measure your campaigns. Brain overload! Great info to take forward and implement.
“You can have more than one audience, just make sure to have a separate ad set for each one”
After lunch Jo Johnson, The Content Coach hopped up on stage and walked us through the power of storytelling when pitching. Not only did Jo give us great examples and tips on pitch attributes but she also helped us with scripting our own pitches taking into account her dos and don’ts of pitching.
Jo really made this feel easy when it’s always felt like such a challenging area in business. Jo will be a guest speaker for Virtually Yours members in July and I can’t wait!
“Does your current pitch include these attributes? Concise, compelling, concrete, conceptual, conversational and conviction?”
Then it was time for my brilliant biz photographer Fi Mims (yes – she’s MINE) to stand up in front of everyone instead of standing behind the camera. And she did shine! Fi gave us ideas of how we could be using images in our business to take our brand from invisible to inspiring. We looked at the places where we should be ‘showing up’ and tested our own brands on the 7 critical elements of personal branding – yes mine needs some work!
Fi showed us the power of great imagery and every person in that room wanted her to be their next photographer I’m sure!
“Do what you love, love what you do”
To finish off the day we broke into 4 groups who were each provided with an experienced VA to ask questions of. I was lucky enough to be one of the experienced VAs and sat with a table of 6 wonderful women – 3 who I already knew and 3 I hadn’t met before – and we worked through their biz questions. We had a great laugh as we churned through some topics such as publishing, subcontracting and attracting certain client types.
As great as it is to have all of these experts sharing their incredible knowledge with us, it’s the networking that makes conferences great. Being able to physically connect with people we’ve built online friendships with and being able to meet those we’ve never met in real life OR online before – that’s what is most important. Chatting with those great speakers, learning about the other VAs in the room and making sure you know how to stay connected with them when the tables are packed away and we’ve all gone home – that’s what makes a conference worthwhile.
What was the last conference you attended and what was your favourite takeway?