Tribe Conference

4 Ways to Make the Most Of Conference Relationships

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We laughed like we were teenagers at a slumber party and captured a picture of our silliness in the over-sized shower of our Green Acres Cottage. We were conference attendees who became trusted friends. Here’s four ways to make the most of conference relationships.


If you’re like me, you’ve attended several conferences. There may be hundreds of people, but you feel alone and disconnected.

Although I’d been to a multitude of conferences throughout my professional career as a counselor and I was ready to hang out with writers and influence beyond the four corners of my private practice.

I attended Jeff Goin’s Tribe Conference for writers and artists who want to expand their influence and hone their craft. I resonate with Jeff because he thrives on relationships and isn’t afraid to brag about his own therapist. Not only is he young enough to be my son, he’s one of the wisest 34 year olds I know even though he looks like he’s 14.

Whether it’s a conference for continuing education in your profession, or an event that compliments your career, here’s four ways to make the most of conference relationships.Conference

1. Social media groups

With my first conference in 2015, I didn’t know a soul but I intentionally sat at the front table to focus and learn. Although I’m a great listener and comfortable with face-to-face connections, I lagged behind with follow-up.

At that time I was still a novice at social media. Many therapists are. Some don’t have personal Facebook accounts for fear of rejecting a client who asks to be a friend. Growth seems to require an element of risk for all of us.

I learned to connect with conference acquaintances through Linked In and Facebook.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering brings a sense of community. I was proud of my red T-shirt and connections in Seattle volunteering for at the Gottman-Siegel Summit in 2014.

By year two of Tribe Conference, I volunteered with intentions to connect. I joined a coaching group and became a Tribe Girlfriend on a closed Facebook group with 17 other writers.

Our girlfriend group met regularly all year through Skype and Zoom calls. We laughed, prayed, encouraged, and shared words of wisdom along with our ideas. We challenged each other to write and be clear and focused. We took turns “leading” and coordinating our time zones from California to Tennessee.

We grew in our trust and began to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and trials. We empathized and asked hard questions. When tragedy struck, we were there for each other. Our friendship deepened as writers.

3. Plan Reconnections

A few months before this year’s conference I booked our Green Acres Cottage through airbnb making room for four others. Others planned meet-ups in Franklin before the official conference activities began.

After three years, our meetups grew from a handful of insecure patrons to a confident gathering of trusted and familiar friends. Some of us met for the first time in person comparing the postage stamp facebook profiles with the live person.

“Oh, you look just like your picture.”

Or you’d hear phrases like, “Oh, that’s you? The one who. . .?”

However the greeting began, it would continue as, “I’m so glad to meet you.” We’re hugging, smiling, thanking, and connecting.

Laughter is spontaneous, but relationships require intentional connections. Click To Tweet

4. Practice Conference Wisdom 

Marsha Shandur, was the speaker who normalized our awkwardness as “dork goblins” when we meet new people. It was a brilliant and funny way to present what I do less brilliantly and funny for my clients in counseling sessions. She demonstrated her own quirks and how to respond to the insecure parts of ourselves, give it a name when it shows up, and take deep breaths when our bodies react to anxiety.

The five of us roomies recognized and named each other’s “dork goblins.” We laughed until we cried during our late night slumber parties. We created sacred space to be real right there at our Green Acres Cottage in the midst of the rolling hills and pastures of Tennessee.

There were many highlights: speakers, meet-ups, books, networking, notes, gormet popcorn, chocolate, and conversations at the conference. It’s not just about learning new ways to think, and do, and be. It’s about the Tribe. It’s about ways to grow conference acquaintances into friendships.

Your Next Steps 

  1. If you struggle with identifying your “dork goblin” ask for your free 20 minute consultation.
  2. Connect with me on Linked in or visit my Facebook page.
  3. Share this article with a colleague



About The Author

Judy Herman

Judy Herman helps leaders and families create connection beyond conflict through her counseling practice. She writes and speaks about how relationship messes are divine invitations for growing your true self.