The 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo is upon us and this week thousands of REALTORS® will descend upon Orlando. If this is your first conference, it can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a few tips to make sure you make the most of your time and maximize your experience.
1. Plan your day. Yes, you’re away from the office so you don’t need to schedule every minute of the trip, but if you don’t make a basic skeleton before you hit the convention floor you may find yourself quickly lost in the experience. Check out the schedule online before you get here. If you’re on NAR committees, you should have those penciled in on your calendar already. You can use the conference online schedule to then build your day around your committee meetings. You can search for educational sessions by day, by topic or by audience. Download the NAR mobile app to make scheduling even easier.
2. Prepare for the trade show. The trade show is huge! Look up the vendor list before you arrive, or at the very least look it over when you get your conference materials at registration. The floor is huge. You’re going to need to plan a few hours to walk through it if you intend on seeing everything. If time is short, make a list of “must see” vendors and make a bee-line for them first, to be sure you don’t miss them. I map them out in the program book the night before the trade show opens, so I have a plan where I’ll go first.
The trade show opens on Friday afternoon and I’ll be at the REALTOR® University booth when the doors open at 3pm, helping to answer questions about their Master’s program (MRE). Come find me if you have questions. I’ll also be at the Realvolve booth assisting them on Saturday and Sunday.
3. Dress appropriately. The days are long, and festivities stretch past dinner and into the night. During the day, wear business casual and comfortable shoes. Your feet will be hurting if you’re not prepared to be standing and walking most of the day.
4. Factor in fun time. Committee meetings, education seminars, and trade show explorations fill the day. Make time for fun time, too. Arrange meet-ups with online friends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. See some of Orlando’s sites and enjoy the warm Florida weather (especially if you’re heading back North at the end of the weekend as I am). Don’t spend every minute on business. Get to know your fellow agents and introduce yourself to strangers sitting next to you in a meeting.
5. Arrange meet-ups in advance. The convention is huge! If you have certain people you really want to meet with in person, don’t take for granted you’ll bump into them in the hallway. You might not. Message those people now, and set up a time in advance to meet in person. I like to pre-arrange a few lunch and dinners and then “go with the flow” for the rest. Be flexible but also make sure if you have key people you need to talk to, that you fit into their schedule in advance.
Have fun – and I hope to see you in a few days!