Stock Up on Comfortable Footwear and Business Cards
The National Associations of REALTORS® (NAR) 2021 REALTORS® Conference and Expo takes place from 11/12-11/15 in San Diego, California. This annual event for real estate professionals is the largest of its kind and features educational sessions, a technology expo, speakers from across the globe, and, of course, valuable networking opportunities.
In fact, the typical Conference and Expo attendee works in real estate full time and boasts an average 16 years of experience. Participants hail from all 50 states and more than 65 foreign countries. New agents shouldn’t be intimidated, though. Nearly one-third of attendees are first-timers each year.
And the icing on the cake? REALTORS® who choose to attend NAR’s annual Conference and Expo report making twice as much as those who skip the event.
If you’re sold, there’s still time to register for virtual or in-person attendance. While you’re at it, you may want to work on a conference game plan. We’ve assembled the top tips and tricks to maximize your experience, whether it’s your first NAR conference or your fifteenth.
Master the Perfect Pack
Success starts in your suitcase! You’ll likely want to don your best business casual as per usual, but you might also want to include some additional items.
This year’s conference will feature more than 250 exhibitors and roughly 12 hours of events each day. In other words, arch support will be essential. Don’t forget a pair of your most comfortable walking shoes and, if you want to go the extra mile, some cushy inserts. Heels and uncomfortable dress shoes can certainly make an appearance for evening or networking events, but your dogs will probably be barking if you keep them on all day.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to stock up on food and water. While there are plenty of stellar San Diego restaurants to try, a few snacks at the ready will make the long hours of listening, learning, and connecting much more enjoyable. Always keep a water bottle filled, too, to maintain your laser focus and plenty of energy.
Go In With a Game Plan
While you don’t have to map out your entire conference experience, determining your goals ahead of time can help ensure you make the most of the event. Are you hoping to discover new tech or to network with the pros? Is there a session you simply can’t miss? Determining what matters beforehand can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed in the moment.
For example, sessions include everything from a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Forum to a Networking Session on Emerging Tech and Strategic Trends. Without some forethought, you might feel a little lost, particularly if it’s your first time. Before boarding your flight or hopping online, consider your goals and interests. Then, choose sessions, events, and speakers accordingly.
Once you’ve chosen a session, you’ll certainly want to get all that you can out of it. After all, the conference is only four days long — with so much to learn, your time is precious!
In order to retain pertinent information amid all the excitement, consider keeping detailed notes. Some attendees prefer to record portions of the session while others opt for good old-fashioned pen and paper. Whatever works best for you will do, just be sure to keep a detailed record of any relevant contact information, key takeaways, and action items. Dates, speaker names, and session titles can also help make referring back to your notes a breeze.
Perhaps most importantly, tuck your phone away for the duration of the session. Notifications are sure to derail you and other attendees, even if they are work-related.
Get to Work Networking
Of course, one of the most rewarding aspects of attending any conference is walking away with new contacts. You may want to nail down your elevator pitch, ensure you have plenty of business cards on hand, and double-check that your personal and professional social media pages are updated and on brand.
As an added bonus, consider reserving a room at one of NAR’s nineteen official hotels. Not only will you receive special rates and offers when booking upon registration, staying in a NAR-approved hotel opens up plenty of room for additional networking opportunities. You can meet and connect with an array of professionals at the pool, in the elevator, or in line for the waffle maker. Many of NAR’s official hotels are well within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center, and a complimentary shuttle service will be provided from the rest.
You may also want to take advantage of any scheduled lunch hours, coffee breaks, galas, meet-and-greets, and afterparties. There’s no better time or place to get your name out there!
Debrief Once Home
Once the conference comes to a close, your work still isn’t done. When you’ve finally made your way back home, take the opportunity to reflect on your experience. Read through your notes, isolating any immediate action items. Research tech that may have caught your eye, connect with any new members of your network, and begin putting that multitude of new insights to use. Then, mark your calendar for next year’s Conference and Expo.
NAR's 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo
Whether you’re a brand new agent or a seasoned veteran, the NAR conference offers insight, expertise, and growth. There’s still time to register, and be sure to keep an eye out for The CE Shop team at booth 536!
Ready to Get Started With The CE Shop?
Whether you’re a new agent looking to start award-winning Pre-Licensing education or an experienced veteran wanting to finish your Continuing Education, our 100% online curriculum is one of the most diverse and groundbreaking in the industry. And if you want to network with your peers, join our Facebook group and get connected!