- Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:39
As we prepare for Real Estate Connect in San Fran, we found it only fair to share some advice from the team. Whether its Real Estate Connect or another event you attend this year these tips will help you make the most of your next conference!
1. Formulate a plan
Plan plan plan! With so many things happening over the course of a few short days you won't have time to waste trying to decide what to do next. Study the schedule and the sessions you're interested in ahead of time and then prioritize them. Make note of which sessions you want to see and when they are. Many conferences now have mobile sites or apps to help you navigate through the day, find them and bookmark them in your phone! Write down your goals for the conference as well: do you want to make new contacts or learn something new to improve your business? Be prepared, but also remember to be flexible. Speakers may surprise you by presenting something you weren't expecting to hear, or cancel all together. Be in tune with what is happening around you so as to not miss any opportunities that you may not have planned for!
2. The buddy system
You've made your list and realize that unless you clone yourself it will be impossible to see every session you're interested in AND still find time to network, meet new people, eat, sleep etc. You'll be networking at pre-conference events and breakfast - use this time to ask others what their goals for the conference are and what they're interested in and you might find someone with complementing interests. Take this opportunity to offer to split up some of the sessions you both want to see and plan to meet at lunch or happy hour to swap notes. Not only will you be making a new connection but you'll both be getting something out of it!
3. Do your research
This might be obvious but being well-versed on the speakers and the session topics that you're planning on participating in will go a long way. You'll be ready at any moment to strike up a conversation on the topic or ask insightful questions. This will also help you identify the people you'd most like to meet and spend time with. Figure out something of value that you can share with them and start networking early - don't be afraid to try and connect via email or LinkedIn to set up a short meeting over breakfast or during a coffee break.
4. Take pictures
Conferences can be overwhelming, so much is happening at once and it can be challenging to remember and absorb everything you're learning. One of our secrets is to snap lots of pictures. Think of it almost like a photo diary, as you go through the day, capture moments that resonate with you: it could be anything from a keynote speaker session to the sign outside a session room. Flipping back through pictures after the whirlwind is a great way to recall and reflect on everything (and one) you've learned and met!
5. Take a moment to focus on networking
While conference content was one of the biggest reasons for attending, remember how else the conference will help you advance your career or business through networking. Skip the last panel of the day for the networking room or a hallway session. Everyone will be buzzing about what they've just heard or learned, another great opportunity for you to learn, share and meet new people.
6. Think outside the box
Are you thinking to yourself, this next conference won't be my first rodeo? What else do you have for me? Maybe you're traveling a long ways and need a way to maximize your visit. Our advice is go beyond just the actual conference and search for outside events like happy hours or breakfasts hosted by different companies. These events are typically more intimate and less hurried than the conference workshops and often times might be the easiest way to meet and talk to people. Tip: use the conference twitter handle to find these types of events quickly.
Looking for events in your area? While not a full list this is a great place to start: Events in America : Real Estate Conference & Conventions
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