5 Steps to Get the Most from Your Experience
The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) Convention in San Antonio October 15-17th was exhilarating. You connected with old friends, made new contacts, and absorbed a wealth of practical business strategies and other tips from the sessions. Now you’re back in the office, facing an overflowing Inbox, both online and off. The Convention is already starting to recede into a crevice of memory.
Not so fast!
Just as you prepared for the Convention by updating your marketing materials, setting goals, scheduling networking time and taking a breather from all the activity when necessary, this is the moment to maximize your Convention experience by acting on what took place, before it’s consigned to the “Get to it someday (never)” folder.
Here are 5 post-NRMLA Convention action steps:
1. It’s in the cards. You collected a bunch of business cards during three days of schmoozing. Before they’re consigned to a desk drawer, open up your computer address book, create a folder called “NRMLA contacts”, and add each person’s name and contact information now. Yes, it’s a bit of time and effort, and it’s also the best way to keep from losing your new contacts altogether. Delegate this task to your office manager if you have one.
2. Reach out. As children we learned that the best way to have a friend is to be one. So take the first step: email each NRMLA contact, remind them briefly what you talked about at the Convention (it may not have been business related; discussing your dogs also provides common ground!), and suggest connecting further. If they’re geographically accessible, you might grab a cup of coffee at a mutually agreeable time. If it’s going to be a virtual connection, suggest a phone call to expand on what you discussed at NRMLA. If you promised to provide a link or some other info at the Convention, this is the perfect reason to email now: they’ll deeply appreciate your professionalism and follow-through.
3. Link up online. Invite new contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn and/or the entrepreneurial business site, mosaicHUB, your Facebook business page (if you have one) and any other sites on which you have a presence. Then once you’re connected, see who else among your contacts might be a good connection for your new buddy, and foster an introduction. You’ll build a reputation as someone who helps others succeed.
4. Put good ideas into practice. As reverse mortgage executive James Veale, CPA, MBT suggests, “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.” Begin with the best new idea you learned at NRMLA, chunk it down into doable steps, and begin to implement it immediately when you return home. Check your progress periodically against the speaker’s description to make sure you stay on track.
5. Set 2013 Conference Goals. It’s not too soon to start preparing for the next conference. Create a desktop or physical folder labeled NRMLA Convention 2013. Review what went well this year, what you could tweak or eliminate, and any ideas you have that you’ll want to hone as the year unfolds, and put all of this information into the folder. Add quarterly or even bi-monthly calendar “check-ins” so you stay on top of your conference prep as the new year unfolds. It’s the best way to ensure your participation will lead to worthwhile outcomes.