February is the month of the international real estate conference put on by Keller Williams Realty International – Family Reunion. Many of you are familiar. As I’m preparing to attend this conference of nearly 20,000 agents, I’m considering my strategy for taking the most away from the 4 days packed full of education, networking, and fun! Since most of us attend conferences every year, these strategies will apply to any event you attend.
The first step to a successful conference is like any successful endeavor… you need to set a goal. What do you want to get out of this conference? Is there a need in your business? Is there something you’re struggling with? Perhaps learning about a specific topic would launch you to the next level? Sometimes it’s just a matter of refining a few things that can make the biggest impact. I like to use the focusing question – What’s the one thing I could gain from this conference such that by learning it and applying it everything else in my business would be easier or unnecessary towards achieving my goals for the year? If I find this one thing and get that out of the conference, then it will have been a success.
In setting my goal, I’m also defining my top three priorities. I’ve typically found when I’m choosing how to spend my time that my top priority–my one thing for the conference–may not be available. In cases such as these, it’s helpful to have a 2nd or 3rd priority so I’m still staying focused. However, as you’re making decisions with your time, don’t let your 2nd and 3rd priorities take over your most important goal! Sometimes your time might be better spent somewhere other than a class.
Next, you’ll want to figure out WHO you want to meet or see. Take a look at your top priority and decide, “is there anyone who I could meet who could advance my knowledge more than any class?” Perhaps it’s someone who’s performing at a higher level than you. Maybe it’s someone who was where you are today, a year ago. Perhaps it’s a master of the one thing you want to learn. Start with people you know and then ask for referrals. Who do they know that you should know? One-on-one time with anyone is special, so book these first. It could be over a meal or perhaps a coffee during a breakout session. The time slots for the most sought-after people fill up fast, so do this early.
Next, it’s important to plan the rest of your time in advance. Check out the class schedule. I usually take a few runs through these classes. I start first with any class that fits my goals. Then I pick a 1, 2, and 3 for each breakout session. If it meets my top priority, then I’ll put a star by it. By the time I’m done, I have 3 options for every breakout and some MUST go-to classes starred.
Lastly, I’m figuring out my networking. What events are happening in the evenings? Who can I spend time with and maybe learn something? What relationships do I need to strengthen? When you’re at these events, be purposeful in starting the evening with people outside of your office, city, or state. You’re at a national or international event, so meet people from around the nation or world! You can always catch up with your buddies later in the night or when you head back home to exchange what you’ve learned.
A few other tips for success:
Plan your food. Bring snacks and brain food so you can keep your energy up the entire conference. It’s hard to snap out of a funk when you aren’t feeding yourself properly while you’re there.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You might want to look nice for networking, but you can get away with a bit of strategic comfort at the same time. Sneakers can be acceptable and will allow you to walk the next day. A backpack instead of a briefcase will save your back if you need to carry around a laptop and food.
Go through your notes each day. You can do this right before going to bed or first thing the next morning. Either way, work your way through them and be sure to highlight the most important nuggets that you need to apply when you get home.
Take notes on all the business cards you collect. Jot down what you talked about, or a recognizable feature to help you remember them. Take the time to write them a quick note or even an email. If it’s someone you had a coffee or lunch with, definitely write them a note of appreciation. It will go a LONG way with getting more of their time in the future.
Do you have any tips to make the most of your conferences? Leave us a message and let me know!
Your Real Estate Consultant
REALTOR®, BOLD, EcoBroker, CNE, CHRE, ILHM, KW Luxury
Professional Denver Real Estate for the Urban at Heart