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Sep 06

Attending a Convention?

The 56th Annual National Association of Women in Construction Convention had come to a close.  As my plane was slowly making its way down the runway I found myself asking was it worth it?

We all know that national conventions come with a hefty price tag in time, money and energy. I spent four days in business meetings, seminars, workshops, leadership training and networking.  Did I truly benefit from the time and money I invested in this event?

By far, the networking opportunities were the biggest reward.  Meeting other like-minded business professionals from all over the country was inspiring and rejuvenating.  Business cards were exchanged by the dozens along with ideas.  Everyone I met had a “how can I help you” attitude.  It was wonderful.

One of my favorite moments was when the keynote speaker at our business meeting shared with us his FUNdamentals of Success along with his love for his company.  Lou Joseph of the Brewer-Garrett Company was oozing with passion and energy, enough for all of us to reach in the air and grab some for our selves.  Lou said his company has experienced significant growth in recent years.  He said he had heard there was a recession, but he just chose not to participate.   What a powerful concept.

Did I say it was also a lot of fun

As a result of the down economy, attendance at the convention was lower than it had been in decades.  Around 300 women compared to 700-800 in recent past years.   I urge companies to consider sharing the financial burden for their employees to attend industry conventions.  Having a member of your team come back to work motivated and armed with new tools and a new attitude is priceless.

To get the most out of a convention, follow my friend Ginny’s advice on making a list of clear objectives you want to accomplish by attending.  Review your list each morning before heading out to meetings to keep them fresh on your mind.

Overall, I feel my investment in attending the 56th Annual NAWIC Convention was a sound one.  I met new professional friends, become rejuvenated, learned new strategies and techniques and had a lot of fun.

My mind is already focusing on my next convention, DHI’s (Door & Hardware Institute) 36th Annual Conference and Exhibition in New York City the end of next month.

I’d love to hear your tips and techniques on getting the most out of conventions.  What’s your trick?

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