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Getting the most out of conventions

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Part 2 Follow Up on our earlier video

Reverse Mortgage ConventionsAs you’re well aware, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) is holding its Annual Meeting & Expo in San Antonio, Texas October 15-17th. What may be less apparent is how to best utilize the occasion so you get the most out of the convention — without wasting time or burning the proverbial candle at both ends.

Below are 5 tips for maximizing your convention experience:

1. Set goals. You wouldn’t pack your bag without considering what attire you’ll need for the convention (you’d look a bit out of place in beachwear if everyone else is in business suits — extreme, but you get the point), yet many people put more thought into their appearance than into what they want to accomplish by attending. Well before you leave for San Antonio, give some focused deliberation to your purpose in participating. For instance, do your principal goals include:
a. Problem solving?
b. Business building?
c. Connecting with specific individuals?
d. Attending certain sessions?

Once you have a game plan for the convention, you’re ready to…

2. Schedule networking time. Conferences and conventions are like a networking marathon. You can meet endlessly around breakfast, lunch, coffee, in the exposition hall — and head home with a wealth of business cards yet few meaningful connections. Instead, with your attendance goals in mind, schedule time to network with the specific people you most want to meet. Remember, too, that networking works both ways: if you connect those you meet with people you know who can further their own goals, it’s a win for everyone.

3. Practice self-care. Client care is the foundation stone of coaching, and it applies across the board. Take good care of yourself while traveling and participating at the convention! Get adequate sleep, rest during the day if you need to, and observe social mores, especially when it comes to food and alcohol. You never know whether your future employer or a major referral resource is in the room.

4. Never eat alone. Master networker Keith Ferrazzi published a book by this title for a reason: if you’re going to a convention, why waste opportunity? While there’s no need to nosh if you feel like skipping a meal (see points 1, 2, and 3, above), when you do sit down to eat, use the time beneficially, beyond the needs of your stomach.

5. Prepare! You’re not attending solely for self-promotion, yet you want to be ready to meet a technology provider whose mortgage origination software is the answer to your business prayers, or the new director of senior services for your county. So don’t leave home without your business cards, company brochures, notebook, pens, laptop, smart phone, and whatever else you might need when meeting potential new business partners.

Now you’re set for a fabulous time in San Antonio!

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2 Comments

  1. Ms. Rose

    This is great advice.

    However, I would add one more item. In our industry one new idea can be the difference in one sale during the year; conferences of this nature can pay for themselves and more.

    Go looking for at least one idea and when you hear it, write it down, reinforce it by talking to others about it at the conference especially the speaker who presented it (if possible), add it to your to do list, and strengthen it by going over it as you travel back to your home. If you find two or more, you probably should be attending more such conferences. If you do not find anything which will help you in your business, maybe it is time to attend less and work more.

    Look at the conference as a potential treasure hunt and do your best to get your share of the loot.

  2. James ~

    Thank you, this is an excellent addition to the article — and sound counsel for any marketing toolkit!


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