What is the Milken Global Conference? It is the one of the largest and most powerful networking and thought provoking conferences that a military member can attend.
Do you identify as a military officer that is an out-of-the-box thinker, a self-starter who believes that the word impossible is but a tiny road bump on the path to victory and enjoys discussing topics such as geopolitics, education, health, military technology, the financial sector, medical research, emerging markets and the economy of the US and world? Then this conference and organization is for you!
Below are the keys to success that will allow to learn, grow and have opportunities to meet and interact with some of the world’s most amazing people.
5 Lessons from Milken:
Learn something new: find a panel that you do not know much about and go and see it! Learn about something that you did not know anything about, we are insular as a military get outside your box and this will allow you to connect to many other types and groups of people
Sit in the front: this is not high school any more. Those that sit in the front get noticed, especially when you are in uniform
Ask questions: panelists and moderators want the audience to ask good questions. If you are sitting up front and are in uniform, they will pick. Asking good thought provoking questions will legitimize the military and allow you a in to talk to the panelists after the sessions ends
Ask for a meeting: Find 2-3 people that you want to learn something from and ask them to sit-down with you for 10-15 minutes. It is usually best to do so after their panel and introducing yourself, but cold calling/messaging has proven effect as well
Provide value: It is easy at Milken to get caught-up in the celebrity status of the panelists, moderators and attendees. People want to pour into you as a military member, but they will remember you and want to help you long-term if you are able to give value back to them
5 Ways to Provide Value to Others at Milken
Ask (thought provoking) questions: Panelists want to answer questions, do some research ahead of time about the panel or listen really well during the panel. Be sure to summarize what the panelist said and ask them to provide more detail about X or ask them to explain X further. When all else fails, ask open-ended questions (why, how, what, etc.)
Listen: This is a lost art…absorb what they are saying
Ask them, “How can I help you?”: this will stun most people at the conference as they are used to people asking for something from them
Connect: via LinkedIn and email after the conference and then months later
Invite: your connections back to your base/job to see what the military does
5 Things NOT To-do at Milken:
Do NOT…chase down high-profile attendees and ask for photos/selfies
Do NOT…come to lunch late; find a table with some sponsors (your color) and start talking/networking immediately
Do NOT…to try to attend a panel every waking moment of the day, give yourself some fluff time to connect with panelist and others that you meet
Do NOT…sit directly next to someone you know, NETWORK and talk to people you do not know!
Do NOT…arrive late on Sunday or leave early Wednesday. Go to the private events on Sunday afternoon and plan to stay behind to network with others that you met and with MLC after the conference
5 Things to take to Milken:
SNACKS and a water bottle!!! Meals are light, so plan to eat on the go and between sessions. Coffee and water is plentiful, but the water is in pitchers provided by the hotel and you will need a water bottle
Your uniform and extra parts; HIGHLY recommended that you wear your uniform the entire time. Leave your cover at home, you do not need it
Business cards are a MUST!
(1) suit with (2) shirts and ties, for Sunday and a back incase something happens to your uniform
Wifi device to operate from during the conference; there is free wifi to connect into at the hotel to use their app and text message and get emails from. Your battery will die if you stay in 3G mode, stay in airplane mode. People that had laptops were annoying with their clicking and their computers died quickly. The Milken App is fantastic and I kept all of my notes in there and later exported them into Evernote for long-term storage