As we gain experience in the workplace, we all quickly learn just how important the people we surround ourselves with are to our overall career trajectory. It is reinforced, time and time again, that the strength of our network can be extremely influential in determining our success, given our closest peers, coworkers, and friendships have such intimate access to our life’s decisions and play a large role in their outcomes.

Though we have all been lectured on the value of meeting more people and networking to the max, there is a small minority of us that actually do it.

When is the last time you met a complete stranger for coffee? Audited your internal network? Caught up with your old coworkers?

One of the most rewarding investments we can make is to expand and cultivate a strong network of people who push us to be the best version of ourselves.

The problem is that social bubbles prevent many of us from meeting new people. Our “typical” lifestyles do not provide sufficient outlets for this. And even when we do identify the perfect mentor or potential business partner, they are often way out of our small network’s reach!

A rare opportunity to befriend like minded professionals, as well as interface with famous influencers, takes place at the world’s top (and most coveted) business conferences. There, you will find all sorts of people who can, if you play your cards right, take you with them to the top.

An event that aims to deliver on this promise, and much more, is Live to Grind, hosted this year in downtown Los Angeles from December 7-9. The conference provides attendees with a diversity of elite speakers like Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and Emmy award-winning producer Greg Rollett, as well as an impressive group of peers. More than that, they provide a slate of actionable training sessions geared towards helping you accelerate your brand and professional influence.

Specifically, here are 5 of the most exciting events you can look forward to at this year’s Live to Grind:

1. Content Marketing Advice

If executed correctly, content marketing has proven to be an extremely worthwhile and high growth channel for brands of all sizes. Whether you are a large enterprise sharing the word of your business or a solo entrepreneur climbing the ladder of influence, understanding how to write effectively (and persuasively) can be immensely valuable.

There are several live sessions at the event where experienced authors and content marketers will walk you through a wide variety of experiences, covering everything from getting featured in print magazines to topping the New York Times’ Bestseller list to creating the right social media content.

2. A Deep Dive into Blockchains Blockchain Technology perhaps?

Blockchain is one of the most promising technological developments as of late that is likely to make a foundational impact on the way many industries across the business world function. At its core, blockchain is a new, decentralized system of organizing “trust” and “access.” But, as blockchain experts and enthusiasts Kevin Harrington, Joel Comm, and Brian D. Evans will share at the conference, the technology can enable us to do order of magnitudes more than we can even imagine today.

There are a number of future state scenarios where blockchains completely eradicate the need for middlemen in a variety of industries, effectively democratizing systems and giving power back to the people (nodes in the system).

3. How to Start Speaking

More than just a  confidence boost, speaking on stage in front of a live audience gives you an incredible opportunity to scale your influence and show your true self. While it does not come naturally for everyone, being a speaker, whether on stage or on podcasts, is a tremendous way to leverage your ideas and distribute knowledge to a wide variety of listeners.  

We also know that audio content, especially podcasting, is gaining momentum quickly among consumers as a medium for digesting information and entertainment. With more and more daily active audio listeners, there is a massive opportunity for brands, as well as individuals, to create branded podcasts that scale quickly. Through interactive sessions, the conference gives you all the tools you need to start and monetize a new podcast to complement your brand.

4. Start Investing in Video

Facebook Live. Instagram. Snapchat. Youtube. Consumers are effectively yelling at companies, telling them that video is truly the future of media. And nearly every major media brand is listening, and refocusing their content strategy to go all in on video production.

Classes at the conference give you a  behind the scenes look into how industry experts make the most  of video, recounting first hand experiences from popular shows like Shark Tank as well as Emmy Award Nominated Show Ambitious Adventures. Every attendee will walk away with a set of professional photographs and  a chance to appear in the television broadcast (and promotion) of the event.

5. Network. Network. Network.

Perhaps above all else, Live to Grind is aimed at giving attendees a platform to level up their brand by exposing unique opportunities for deep networking with both industry experts as well as like-minded peers. Not only does the event put you in a situation where open networking is both accepted and encouraged, they also give you all the strategies you need to create authentic, long-standing connections with other attendees.

The hope is that you not only walk away with a slew of tips and tricks for how to be a better businessperson, but also with a group of new connections who can, some day, turn into powerful relationships.

Brian D. Evans

Brian is the Founder/CEO/Editor-in-Chief at Influencive and the Founder at BDE Ventures. Brian is an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, who built the 25th fastest growth marketing and advertising company in America. Brian is an advisor to many startups and mentor to many entrepreneurs. He is a columnist at Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Forbes and others.