10 tips to get the most out of this year’s Social Impact Festival
Nov 26 — Culture — Jeffrey Effendi
The countdown is well and truly on – Western Australia’s very own Social Impact Festival is almost upon us. Starting on Tuesday 18th July, #SIFest2017 is ten days of unique, inspiring and engaging events across the city hosted by UWA’s Centre for Social Impact.
Events will take place at locations around The University of Western Australia campus, Perth CBD and across metro and regional areas of Western Australia. With so much going on, this festival brings a wealth of opportunities to inspire and be inspired right to our doorstep. It also helps that we rebranded the festival this year, so it has a special place in our hearts. You can read that case study here.
Expect the unexpected
The Social Impact Festival offers a unique opportunity to explore systems, think differently and unlock new possibilities in a bid to solve the most complex problems in society. It’s a place where like-minded changemakers can come together to innovate, celebrate and co-create. If you’re socially conscious and seeking inspiration, you’ll find an abundance of it here.
As a platform for new thinking and doing, the program will showcase social impact happening locally as well as national and internationally in a bid to inspire passion and ignite more purpose-driven action.
- TEDxUWA – Salon: ART // ACT (Part 2)
- Social Ventures Australia- Finding Your Golden Thread
- threeonesix – Ethical tea stall open at The Good Market
- DrawHistory – What’s Your Marketing Why?
- Impact Seed – Pitch Event
The program is incredibly diverse, with Impact School, Impact Lab and Impact Sparker events providing insights and inspiration no matter where your passion lies. Whether you want to learn from industry experts, meet and grow with change makers, visit the good market or explore the local social impact ecosystem, you’re spoiled for choice with over 75 events on offer. The value is high yet costs are kept low to ensure accessibility. Many events are free of charge, with ticketed events starting from just $10.
Ready, set, go?
You’ve roamed the program, decided on your top picks and secured your spot, now it’s time to consider how you’re going to make the most of this year’s Social Impact Festival. What you can bring and what you want to take away from the experience?
To help you out, we’ve collated our ‘Top 10 Strategies to be a Great Attendee’ below.
1. Set your festival intention
What’s drawing you to attend the Social Impact Festival? Do you want to expand your network? Build your knowledge? Collaborate with others? Be inspired? Seek Opportunities? Source funding? All of the above, or something else? Getting clear about why you’re attending will help you to achieve your overall goal. By being intentional and clarifying what appeals to you most and why, you’ll find much more of exactly what you’re looking for once you’re there.
Write your intention on the front of your notebook or program page so you can re-connect with it regularly over the ten days and it stays top of mind.
2. Reach out and say hello!
Any conference or festival is a great opportunity to broaden your network. Nurture your current connections but try not to spend the whole time with people you know. Fear not – meeting new people doesn’t need to feel forced or become an anxiety-inducing exercise. It can be fun to do if you’re prepared!
Before the event, do your research and think about who you’d like to meet. Make the effort to reach out and connect via email beforehand or carve out time to say hello once you’re there. Make sure you’re also armed with plenty of business cards and a snappy 1-2 sentence introduction! An introduction is simply your chance to share a few words about yourself. A good one flows easily and lights you up, so authentically express who you are and what you’re doing but remember to keep it short and sweet. The intention here isn’t to share your life story with a stranger, it’s to create a connection and spark further conversation! Enjoy the process of sharing a little about yourself and getting to know other inspiring change makers from near and far by striking up a conversation with the people around you and speaking up in sessions. Who knows where these conversations may lead?
Follow up with your new contacts within 48 hours, inviting them for a coffee to explore synergies and share insights after the festival.
3. Get organised for learning
Ahead of time, think about your best system for learning and consider how you will collect and organise your insights along the way. What’s your preference, notebook and pen? Laptop? Tablet? Something else?
Use the Evernote app to store and organise your notes. You can search content, tag your notes and even share them with others. Sign up for Evernote here.
4. Be curious
Curiosity can help you to have big breakthroughs, to explore the unknown and to arrive somewhere new. Start by asking more questions. By asking questions you’re opening up an opportunity to challenge your assumptions and spark fresh thinking. Curiosity can then help you to discover new information and ideas that can lead to the breakthrough you’ve been looking for. Secondly, step outside your comfort zone. Join an event that offers something different to your usual pick and is exploring something you know little about. This new content will engage you to think outside the box and could lead to unexplored territory and unexpected outcomes.
Speak up – take the opportunity to ask a question you’re curious to know the answer to.
5. Be proactive and get involved
The Social Impact Festival presents a platform to share ideas, celebrate initiatives create positive change. It’s a highly participatory event – so get ready to get involved! Be courageous and say yes to joining in, contributing and connecting. The festival offers plenty of opportunities to build your capacity to create change if you’re ready to take action. You’ll be alongside other passionate people who also share a love of change-making and innovation so embrace this unique chance to contribute together to the greater good.
Switch your mindset from passive participant to active attendee!
6. Lean in and be present
Devote your full attention to the session you’re in. Be mindful, be present, be aware and focus. Honour the time you’ve set aside and the unique experience you’re a part of. Try to disconnect from external distractions (e.g. phone, emails) knowing that you can respond to them later.
Switch on your email autoresponder to let people know you’ll be out of action during the times and days you’re at the festival.
7. Collaborate with others
The festival is a great place to forge interesting connections and exciting collaborations with others who want to create similar social impact. Think about the value you can bring to a collaboration and exactly what you’re looking for in a collaborator. How can this be mutually beneficial for all parties? What steps will you take to kick off your collaboration? What are the roles and responsibilities? How would you like to work together? What outcomes can you achieve?
What does your ideal collaboration look like? Use this to guide your goals and next steps.
8. Share it and hashtag #SIFest2017
Get excited before the event and share the goodness on social media. Bring a friend along with you. Share updates once you’re there and support the festival and the impact to grow.
Use the hashtag “#SIFest2017” across social channels.
9. Chill out
There’s so much goodness within the program and no shortage of events and opportunities to attend that it can be overwhelming for those who need to take time out to tune in. Introverts, I’m talking to you! Many people find it exhausting to attend social events so remember to manage your energy reserves in order to get the most out of the festival experience. If you need some downtime to rest, reflect and restore – take it. It’s all about balance. Looking after your wellbeing along the way will ensure you’re less stressed and more energised so take the time to chill out between sessions when you feel it’s needed.
Bring your headphones and take ten to do a guided breathing exercise if you’re on the go all day.
10. Map and implement key goals
There’s going to be a wealth of valuable information at the Social Impact Festival: you’ll be hearing expert opinions, best practice case studies, innovative strategies and new perspectives.
Once the conference is over, it’s important to implement all you’ve learned. What did you take away? What will you do differently? Schedule an appropriate block of time to review and implement the lessons learned and any strategies you’d like to use moving forward. Make sure they align with your social impact mission.
Be realistic about what you want to implement and your capacity to do so. Take immediate action by selecting 1-3 key goals to work on first, and build momentum as you tick them off!
Go out there and enjoy it!
Good luck and let us know what you’re going along to on Twitter at @DrawHistory!
Jeffrey has consulted for hundreds of public companies, multinational nonprofits and government agencies on purposeful strategy, brand and design. He has been recognised as a Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Queen's Young Leader Runner-Up and Forbes Under 30 Listmaker.Email Jeffrey Effendi