How to get the most out of training and conference events

The Australian property management industry dishes up some of the finest training events in the country, but how do you know which ones to go to and how can you get the most out of them?

I’ve found over the years that plenty of PMs and BDMs head to conferences, but fail to actually implement useful techniques once they get back into the office. The best way to make sure you get your money’s worth is to set yourself a goal before you get there. Ask yourself what it is you’re hoping to achieve.

It might be to make more connections through networking or it might be to develop your business development techniques. Whatever it is, think about your objectives before you get there and, of course, be open to learning and discovering things you may not even have considered.

With only a few months left of the 2017 calendar, I am sure you are all planning your training schedule for 2018 and, as part of this process, take the time to research each event you are interested in and determine why you want to go and what you want to get out of it.

Early on in my career, I’d attend conference and training seminars with the objective of soaking up as much information as I possibly could. I would write notes and key points down at each one, but after time I realised that this wasn't really the best approach.

Now I make sure I put some time into researching who will be speaking at the event. Find out what their strengths are, stalk their social media presence, connect with them through these portals and, most of all, choose events and seminars with speakers who you think you can learn something new from.

Remember, the learning curve goes way beyond the stage though. I've found some of the most useful insight and ideas have come from talking and networking with other delegates at the event.

During lunch and tea breaks, I always made an effort to go out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to other attendees and discuss the industry with them. Over the years, I’ve picked up some priceless insight by doing this. Exchanging business cards is also a killer way to create a strong industry network at the same time.

Conferences and training events are a great way to regain focus and get motivated. I find they are great for reigniting the passion while gaining new insights, ideas, and solutions to help not only improve areas within your day-to-day role, but also for professional development.

Interestingly enough, only 10 per cent of delegates who attend training events will return to their office and implement the key points they learned. Are you a part of this percentage, or do you find yourself returning back to the grind and placing your notes in your drawer?

When it comes to implementing what you've learned from the event, try these key points:

  • Write down one key point from each session – Don’t overwhelm yourself with excessive notes; just take away one or two insights from each speaker at the event.
  • Stay connected – Keep all business cards together and add the contacts as soon as you get back into the office. Follow all speakers on social media and sign up for their newsletters so you can stay motivated and informed regularly.
  • Share and share alike – Be sure to share your insights and notes with your team when you return to work. This is super important. Schedule a post-event meeting with your team immediately after the event while it’s fresh in your mind, share your insights and give your team a rundown and overview of the event.
  • Implement and set a deadline – Don’t fall into the trap of sharing the information and then walking away. Use the information and insights to develop KPIs and delegate work based upon new principles to ensure there's accountability within the team to build the property management department.
  • Research – Next year is fast approaching. There are many great events happening around the nation, so get researching and commit to the events you think can help develop your professional career and make 2018 your year to shine.

By Kasey McDonald