• Alexandra Bond Burnett

Heading to Xerocon? Prepare for beautiful business connections with these 5 tips

With less that 13 days to go until "Glastonbury for Accountants" many Xero partners are preparing themselves for two days of feature updates, practice management and app-tastic learning.

Whether you're attending solo or with your team, the potential for mixing with other like minded accountants is extremely valuable.

Here are my 5 tips to help even the most introverted to get the most out of the day.

1) Take your online connections and make them live

You know that awkward moment when you make eye contact with someone and you think you know from LinkedIn but you're not totally sure... so you both nod and quickly walk away?

Yes. That classic "I think I know you, but not in real life just on twitter" moment catches many people out. If you're not feeling brave enough to walk up and say "Hey - is that you?" then get out there before the event and say hi.

Let people know you'll be around and maybe arrange a few coffee break with people. Even better arrange a meet up at the Practice Ignition Precon party or the Xerocon Party, everyone will be a bit more relaxed.

Have a quick check of your profile pic. If the last time you uploaded a pic was 2009 and you've upgraded since then, get a new photo up and give people a chance to know it's you.

(FYI I just chopped off my hair)

2) Prepare your 'journey' pitch

Not everyone there will be a bookkeeper or accountant, but the likelihood is that they are somewhere on the same journey as you. Take this as a great learning opportunity to share your war stories, and successes with your peers.

Instead of preparing the usual

"I'm an accountant, I help circus performers to have financial insight using Xero"

They know you work in the profession, so tell them something about where you are in the digital journey. Perhaps a statement that tells the person a little about you and what you are there to learn.

"I've just started my practice, and I'm here to find ideas on how to improve data capture for self employed Circus performers"

Something a bit different that will kick off a conversation that gets you both sharing stories. They might have heard of something they thought would be useful to you, or even better, they might share some of their own insight from their perspective.

3) Leap out of your fish bowl

The safest option at these events is to stick with who you know. Being a tribe is great - but if you stick to the same people you end up in a fish bowl comfortably circling each other.

If you find it difficult, and by difficult I mean incredibly awkward set yourself some goals for the two days that take you gently outside the comfort zone.


1) Grab your lunch and find a table of new people to eat with.

2) Sit next to someone and ask them about the talk their about to see.

3) Ask your contacts to introduce you to new people.

4) Don't plan every moment

I'm already working on my Xerocon speaker spreadsheet as we speak... applying a traffic light system to the schedule so that I can see everything I NEED to see and squeeze in the "ooh that looks amazing " things as well. But it's also important not to go to schedule heavy and earmark some quiet time to recharge, refuel and reflect.

Green - Absolute must see

Amber - Looks interesting

Red - Down time

Two to three days of conferencing, parties and being 'on top form' can be exhausting for the mind and body. Grab a bean bag. Relax. Allow for spontaneity - those moments are when incredible things really happen.

5) Break Out and Dance.

Meet friends, new and old and break loose*!

It is so good for your peers to connect with the let your hair down version of you as well, when we're all having a dance, playing ping pong or karaoke what's when people let their guards down and you can make connections that will service you well when you;re back to business.

Last year I ventured out to Xerocon on my own, and had to make an effort to meet people at the Precon and Xerocon parties.

Since last year, I have continued to work, share and collaborate with throughout 2019 with those people.

I even was invited skiing with a few new friends...

Forging relationships at these events are vital to your growth, professionally and personally.

* Caveat... have fun with moderation kids

Let me know if you're attending Xerocon and would like to meet up

I'll be delivering my Presentation Skills for Accountants session on Day Xero as a part of the Lead the Way stream, as well as attending the main events. - ping me a message if you'd like to connect.