JDR will soon be off to the Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference. Each spring, we return to Washington, DC, as Yardi brings together real estate management professionals to dive deep into the Yardi solutions they use every day. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your skills and talk to the experts about how you use the software and the innovations you’d like to see next.
Drawing on over 15 years of experience attending, sponsoring, exhibiting at and speaking at conferences, we have some tips we recommend you test out. No matter if you are heading to YASC next month or if you give them a try at a future industry conference, you are sure to get the most of your experience.
Go ahead, leave the ego at home and take the opportunity to ask the questions you might otherwise be embarrassed to ask. Show up to the conference on a mission to get answers. It’s a great idea to gather the team and discuss concerns ahead of time. Whether they are attending or not, you can bet your team has questions, challenges or concerns. Compile a list to help you stay on track and return to the office more informed than when you left.
“I’ve had a hard time with (your biggest challenge), do you have any experience overcoming that?”
Yes, we know it is a long week and there will be a lot of information transfer, but how often do you get the opportunity to surround yourself with this many experts and users in one place. Don’t skip out on sessions, just grab a coffee and go for it. Please, don’t be afraid to try something new. Maybe sit in on a product you’ve never considered before. Who knows, it may spark ideas on how you can improve other areas business or workflow. If you are wanting to sightsee, we recommend going a day early or staying an extra day so you can get the benefit of the conference as well as the sights of your host city.
Conferences are a great time to talk about your plans or challenges and ask for advice. Staff, consultants and other attendees are all great resources. There is a good chance that others have gone through similar circumstances and have a solution you’ve never considered. And don’t forget to engage with your speakers and presenters. There is no harm in introducing yourself and exchanging business cards. Do this up front and explain that you know they will likely be inundated with questions afterwards so you would like to be able to follow up and ask questions after you return to the office.
“This year we are considering implementing (a new module you are considering), do you have any best practices tips as we get started?”
We don’t just say this because we want you to stop by (and we do). Technology capabilities and services are always changing. New solutions, services and tools are added all the time. Yes, every vendor may not be a good fit for you or your focus and that is ok, but we still recommend taking a few minutes to talk with them anyway. Others in your organization may benefit from information gained and who knows, down the road your mission, role or company may change and now they become a good fit. You’ll already be armed with a business card to reach out.
Speaking of business cards, one of the biggest mistakes we see people make is not packing business cards. It’s a little embarrassing when someone offers you a card and you can’t reciprocate. Maybe you don’t have cards for your organization, and that’s completely ok. Simply take a few minutes to print out your contact info on some strips of paper so you will be prepared. Plus, the vendors always have fun giveaways, so take the time to participate.
Pack comfortable shoes and layer, layer, layer. You never know whether the meeting rooms will be like an ice box or a sauna. Your best bet is to wear layers so you can adjust appropriately as needed. We all want to look our best, but sometimes it’s better to save your killer heels for the receptions and post-conference events held at the end of the day. You will be much more refreshed and comfortable in some sensible shoes when you are trekking to and from your hotel, meals or class to class.
We hope you find our tips helpful as you venture out to your next conference.
If you happen to be attending the Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC DC) please stop by and say hello to the JDR team. Good luck and be sure to make the most out of your conference.
Need more info or want to schedule a meeting?
Mandy Cooke, Marketing & Business Development, Contact me!