Chances are you’ve taken a look at the realtor.org convention page and were a little bit overwhelmed. I was when I attended my first November conference last year in New Orleans. Where to go!? What to do?!
The very first thing you want to do is go back to the realtor.org convention page and take a look at the schedules at the top of the page. Yes, I used plural because there are two – Conference Schedule and Committee Meetings. The conference schedule shows you the interesting classes and forums available while the Committee Meetings schedule shows you just that. There are a lot of committees and boards that meet and you are welcome to attend any that don’t show “Invitation Only” or “Closed Meeting”.
Now that you’re on the convention page, look on the right hand side. See that blue box?
This is going to allow you to schedule what you’d like to do. Go ahead and sign up for it – remember your username and email address because you’ll need it later for the app.
You’re going to get a pop up window (so disable those pop up blockers!) where you can click on either schedule. Now, just roll through that and check the box of the classes/forums you want to check out. At the bottom of the page, you’ll click the blue box and those selections will show up on your schedule! Go into that again and click on Committee Meetings. Rinse and repeat.
Here’s the thing about Committee Meetings – when I attended my first MidYear Conference in DC, I was a little reserved on what to go to. I knew what I was interested in but a little shy about just walking into a meeting. Take my advice: do NOT be shy! If you are interested in legislative policy, communications, green building, finance, whatever – go to the meeting!! (Again, make sure that it is not listed as a closed meeting or invitation only.)
As you are doing your schedule, keep in mind that not all events are at the Convention Center. The other venues are close by but you’ll need to factor in travel time. It is a mile from the Manchester Grand which is the northwest most venue to the southeast most venue, the Hilton BayFront. (Have I mentioned bring comfortable shoes? If I didn’t, I am now. Trust me here.)
Now, let’s visit the app. It’s going to be your very best friend. Go to your App store and search “NAR Annual”. Download it then go into it. Click on the gear icon on the top left to load in your event planner. Put in your username and email address from the convention page and voila! There’s your schedule!
Poke around in the app. It’s going to show you everything there is to know about the convention and Expo, getting around San Diego, where to go and what to see when you have some downtime. You can also check out the social media streams going on. (Remember to use #NARAnnual!) There’s a lot to the app so give yourself time to figure out everything on it.
Finally, just some last minute generic tips:
1. Do not forget your business cards!! If you need to, order new ones now. Bring a ton for networking and the Expo.
2. Want to make friends quickly? Bring a power strip with you! Short of the power strip, invest in a portable charger. I can’t live without mine.
3. LADIES: Invest in a good messenger bag for your laptop, tablet, wallet, phone, keys, and so on. Leave your purse behind.
4. Bring a light sweater with you. The conference rooms can get chilly.
5. Did I mention comfortable shoes? Learn from me please. Ladies, if you don’t normally wear heels don’t make San Diego your testing ground. Dress comfortably. And don’t go buy brand new shoes the day before you leave either! You’ll see a lot of ladies in sandals or flats towards the end of the day.
Last but not least, get with your local association and see who is attending. If you’re attending by yourself, this will be an instant connection for you. As a first timer, it’s great to have someone you know from home to help guide you around and maybe grab a bite to eat on a break. The seasoned attendees will be glad to help as will anyone with NAR.
Bottom line is this – have a blast, enjoy your time, learn a TON and take what you learn back to your markets and brokerages. Keep the discussions going!
Get to planning! See you in San Diego!