The best way to conquer any large scale event is to make sure you are adequately prepared, including tackling it both physically and mentally. With only a few days before thousands of REALTORS® will invade Orlando, I hope you’ll take time to prepare to ensure you walk away with the most amazing experience.
Pack your most comfortable shoes. This is an absolute MUST for any conference but probably one of the most important tips for any conference held at the Orlando Convention Center. One may assume they have signed up for a real estate conference, but in fact what they have really signed themselves up for is a multi-day marathon. By the end of the week you may feel you have hiked from Orlando to Miami and perhaps back again trekking between sessions, hotels, and off site events. Yes ladies who bust out the most amazing shoes for a conference, I am going to pick on you for a moment. My suggestion to pack your most comfortable flats and sport them during the day and leave your super cute heels for parties, galas, and installations. Your feet and calves will thank me later.
Add protein bars or packages of dried fruits or nuts to your packing list. Each morning, stash a few of your culinary options into your handbag before you jet off to your first session. The daily schedule will literally run from sun-up to sundown and actually you may not stop until the very late evening hours or wee hours of the morning for some. The entire conference agenda is oozing with tons of useful information and mostly likely you will hike several football fields from one meeting or session to another. In a nutshell, you will need fuel to keep your mind sharp and body forward moving. While there may be several opportunities to linger over lunch, you may be fueled by the hunger for more information for your business rather than fueled by hunger for food requiring the stash of goodies I mentioned earlier to come into play. The last thing anyone needs is a hangry REALTOR® running amuck in Orlando, so please think of yourself as a parent of toddler and pack your snacks wisely.
As a first time convention attendee or even a relative newbie to the annual event, you may be overwhelmed by the magnitude of content being tossed into your lap over the six days while in Orlando. There will be dozens of committee meetings, hours upon hours of educational sessions, and to add to already a hectic day – a plethora of competing parties, galas, or installations each evening.
After you’ve scoured the event schedule earmarking those meetings, sessions, and parties that caught your attention, be sure to not stop there! Between now and the day you arrive, identify a few people to connect with during your stay. Yes, pinpoint actual people that you want to have a conversation with. These could be people you’ve met at another industry event and didn’t have adequate time to connect. Or perhaps you may want to connect IRL (in real life) with someone you’ve socially known for decades but never had an opportunity to meet face to face. Do yourself a favor and reach out and align schedules right now rather than trying to do so the day you want to connect. Many of these folks are already putting the finishing touches on their daily agendas and if you are eager to snag a sliver of their time, don’t wait until the last minute to reach out. Suggest meeting for a quick cup of coffee and talking while walking to an event together or offer to buy breakfast if they will rise before a single bird chirps. Your meet up doesn’t have to be lengthy or over breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee. Some of your best connections will come from meeting someone between sessions in a quiet nook of the convention center. Take a few moments to soak up some vitamin D, get some fresh air, and escape the conference chaos – I suggest a quick walk outdoors to connect in a quiet and relaxing setting. Having attended national conferences for many years now and building long lasting friendships each time, I know firsthand that these connections are the icing on the conference cake. As an education junky, I attend national conferences to expand my knowledge base far beyond the local and state level, but I know the relationships I build while in attendance and maintain long after the conference dust has settled are worth their weight in gold.