Surviving Real Estate Connect

Real Estate Connect, which is being held this week in San Francisco, was born from a desire to bring new ideas to the forefront of the real estate industry. Some ideas brew within the profession’s walls. Many have also come from outside.

This list is formidable: Online listings. Paperless transactions. Photography. Video. Mapping. Blogging. Social media. Design. Syndication. Each owes its ubiquitous placement in real estate to their debuts at past Connect conferences.

Many in the past found the future predictions highlighted and discussed at Connect foolish. The blind couldn’t see the possibilities. The frightened fought long and hard, and lost battles in resistance.

Those who were open to possibilities listened carefully, inspired new actions and moved the needle. They were inventors who imagined and developed new ideas. Investors who funded those ideas. The forward-thinking executives who adopted them first in their businesses.

Together, they served the consumer – the biggest winner of all. The benefits they’ve reaped as a result of the improvements you collectively have brought them has been substantial.

Real Estate Connect made so much of that happen.

Making the most of Connect

I’ve left all 20 or so Connect conferences I’ve attended with regrets. Missed opportunities to meet with someone. Missed sessions. Missed meals. Missed sleep. Missed sights.

Each time I go, I try to get more out of being there. For the newbie’s or even for the veterans who have also left with some regrets, here’s some thoughts on how to minimize them and get the most of you Connect.

Arrive with an open mind. Attending sessions that confirm your beliefs and suspicions is okay. But to truly make the most of the event, seek out the panels and sessions that challenge your sensibilities. These are the hidden treasures.

Tweet less. Listen more. Unless you’re a journalist, your social media followers will live happy lives if you choose not to broadcast every sound bite. Focus on you. Take notes. Use your phone’s video recorder to catch details. Pay serious attention to the topics being discussed. Tweet the golden nuggets later, after you’ve had time to digest the content.

Make use of both stages.  Being in the audience doesn’t preclude you from speaking or influencing the room with your thoughts and ideas. This is one event at which being in the audience is much like being on stage. Regardless of where you sit, use your seat to ask questions, challenge the speakers, or add your own thoughts. Many real estate stars were born doing just that.

Support the vendors. Take the time to visit each one. Each of us is a salesperson to some degree. Give each vendor two minutes to pitch you. If they offer you a free account, take it. Close it after the trial period ends if it’s not the solution you’d hoped for. There are gems at every Connect. Hunt for them. If nothing else, it’s good conference karma.

Mingle. Don’t be shy. While connecting with your social peeps is important, seeking out new ones is paramount. Connect is about growing your sphere. Approach those you think are unapproachable. You’d be surprised by how eager they are to meet you.

Be in the moment. Some of the best encounters I’ve had were chance ones that took place when I least suspected it. The elevator. The hallway. Curbside waiting for a cab. Don’t view these moments as down time or chances to lose yourself in your phone.  Be alert. You’ve spent a lot of money to get here. Milk every moment you can.

Thank Inman. I know firsthand how exhausting the production of an event like this can be. Everyone at Inman News has worked crazy hours for the last few months to make this Connect possible. Thank them. You have no idea how much that will mean to them.

Pace yourself. As a friend of mine often says, never go big on the first night. Eat right. Smoke less. Drink less. Sleep an extra hour. Hit the gym before dinner. This can make all the difference in the world. The last night? Well, just be careful out there!

Surviving Connect

I’m a veteran. I’ve survived numerous afflictions and contagions during this event. Severed appendages. Trips to the ER. Meetings on pain killers. I’m not kidding.

The hours on the floor are long. The meetings are numerous and intense.

The rat tat tat of tips, advice, bullet points, ideas and products being shot at you can be overwhelming. The pressure to learn, sell your product, land meetings, get some press and make the expense pay off will stress your nervous system to its core.

There’s a reason people continue to attend year after year. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Good luck and see you at all #ICSF!