Do You Suffer From PCSD…Post Conference Stress Disorder?July 11, 2019
Now that conference season is in full effect, I find myself staring glassy-eyed at my laptop as I prepare my agenda for the upcoming INMAN CONNECT conference. As a matter of fact, as I think about my own goals for the event, I can’t help but think about all the common pitfalls most of us face when it comes to conference going.
Matching Expectation With Reality
Putting Learning Into Action
Not only do we get super pumped to attend the latest & greatest learning event of our choosing, but also, deep down we get that adrenaline rush thinking about all the awesome social media content we’ll be able to generate. Furthermore, maybe we’re feeling super excited to learn something new & think we’ll come back home ready to DOMINATE & run circles around our competition.
As we TOTALLY should…right?!
But…let’s keep it real. Once you combine the lethal mix of jet lag + lack of sleep + the overflow of back-logged work + the back-to-reality client demand that quickly smacks us across the face, most of us tend to get what I affectionately call “PCSD – Post Conference Stress Disorder” and then within a day or two, all of those well intended intentions quickly fall by the wayside.
So in order avoid PCSD, let’s take a moment to unpack the common pitfalls and talk about some actionable steps we can map out PRIOR to an event in order to make sure we’re maximizing our conference time. After all, in reality, our goal is sticking to our POST-CONFERENCE GOALS, right? Sound good?
1. Feeling Overwhelmed
THERE’S SO MANY SESSIONS TO CHOOSE FROM! HOW DO I CHOOSE?
I hear that! But isn’t that one of the things that makes an event so great…CHOICES?! So don’t let it overwhelm you, instead, open up your laptop, go to the event website & start adding your favorite events directly to your mobile phone calendar so you can begin to strategize which sessions will work best with your existing calendar availability. One of the reasons I love using this strategy is because as we consider attending events, break-out sessions, mixers and networking events hosted by various sources, you start to see a lot of overlap in times, so by using your calendar app to directly schedule/save your favorites, you will easily be able to adjust/shift and set reminders AS you add each option in. #EfficiencyForTheWin
OMG…BUT THOSE EXHIBITOR HALLS ARE MASSIVE! WHAT IF I MISS THE NEXT BEST THING BECAUSE I COULDN’T HIT THEM ALL UP?
I don’t know why, but this question makes me think of the Bachelor/Bachelorette show, LOL! I mean how can you possibly choose THE BEST ONE when there’s so many options to choose from…and so many of them look alike? 😉 This is where a little due diligence and strategy mapping will go a long way. Personally I like to create a Google Spreadsheet and add all the exhibitors along with the following category fields;
|BRAND||URL||BRIEF DESCRIPTION||LOCATION||DATE / TIME||FAVORITE?|
Having all of this data organized in a bird-eye view helps me to make sure I am able to highlight the vendors that I’m most excited about FIRST and foremost, and then if I have time left to spare, I can then allow myself to meander the hall to discover some additional gems.
2. Matching Expectation With Reality
WHAT IF I ATTEND A SESSION THAT DOESN’T MEET MY EXPECTATION & I MISS A DIFFERENT SESSION THAT EVERYONE SAYS WAS “AMAZING”?
Honestly, it happens to all of us. And usually it’s NOT because the session or the speaker you chose wasn’t impactful, but rather we were pulled in by a session title rather than taking the time to figure out what the session is truly about. Typically what I like to do is take a close look at each session, the speakers, the companies they represent, and then ask myself the following questions;
Is this topic something that is currently a pain in my business? If it’s not, move on.
Am I already using the brand/product as a solution? If not, would I be inclined to try this solution? If yes, bring a list of questions to ask them.
Does the topic seem precise or vague? This is typically pretty telling of the type of session you’re walking into. Personally I’m a bigger fan of sessions that have a specific call to action, this helps me define my take aways much easier.
3. Memory Retention
I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAME OF A PRODUCT/VENDOR THAT I TOLD MYSELF I WAS GOING TO START USING!
Right? I hate it when that happens. But if you take the time to do points 1 & 2 above, I’m willing to guarantee that you will not only remember them, but you’ll probably end up asking more meaningful questions about the product/service when you visit their booth because you’ve already scoped them out a bit prior. And guess what? They’re going to LOVE YOU for it.
4. Maximizing Opportunity
WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS? SHOULD I JUST DO ONE OR A WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM?
Honestly, this really comes down to knowing your audience. What social media network(s) do you plan on sharing on? How often do you typically post to your networks? Would your SOI (Sphere of Influence) get annoyed if out of no where you suddenly bombarded them with a ton of posts? Or would they be excited?
Take a moment to take inventory of your own social networks, your typical posting behaviors and always keep in mind the kind of audience you connect with.
This will help you make your decisions accordingly.
One of the things I tend to do before an event is do a “Heads Up Post” a few days prior to the event letting my friends/connections know that I’ll be attending an event during said dates and that my posts will be a bit more frequent as a result. I then ask if there’s anything specific any of THEM would like to see featured, and if anyone responds, I make sure to add that vendor to my FAVORITES even if they weren’t on my initial target list.
SWAG…WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH ALL THIS SWAG????
Well let’s think about it…as real estate professionals you completely understand the fear of sinking money into promo items only have people throw them out, right? So keep this in mind as you walk through the halls. If a vendor is handing something out that you KNOW you’ll end up throwing away, please don’t grab one. Maybe instead, opt to take a photo of their swag and do a quick tweet letting them know it was “Nice to meet you at your booth”, tag them, add the pic to your tweet and go on your merry way. That way you’re still connecting/networking, while still being respectful of their investment & our landfills. Now if you LOVE a swag item…turn that bad boy into a social media post, POST CONFERENCE! Whether it’s a tee-shirt, pen, hat or some cool tech gadget, do a social post exclusively about the brand, take a pic of yourself using the swag and tag the brand in your post. How much you wanna bet they’ll share your post? Can you say EXPOSURE??? Or INDUSTRY EXPERT??? That’s right, you’re getting the drift…Your clients will be impressed too. Wow, my realtor KNOWS the creator of that product? 😉
5. Putting Learning Into Action
EXECUTION. HOW ON EARTH DO I REALLY EXECUTE ALL OF WHAT I LEARNED WITHOUT SLOWING DOWN MY BUSINESS OR BECOMING OVERWHELMED?
Let’s be honest, this is the most important part…actually putting into action what we’ve learned. Keep in mind that it’s a process and that we can’t possibly do everything all at once, just like we can’t possibly be all things to all people. So go back through the spreadsheet that you created. Of your favorites that you visited, which ones were you MOST excited about after all was said and done? Start there. Once these new strategies are a regular part of your repertoire, go back to the spreadsheet and start to add in some of the others. That’s the best part of strategy mapping…it’s always there and it always stays on YOUR timeline which prevent you from becoming overwhelmed big picture.
Hopefully these strategies will help you as you head out to your next event. And hey, if you are planning on attending INMAN CONNECT conference in Las Vegas July 22nd-26th, LEAVE ME A COMMENT down below. I’d absolutely LOVE to connect and discuss what’s working for you in your market. Heck, I’ll even add you to my spreadsheet…;)