3-step conference success plan

Each year, the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference kicks off the conference season, and things generally don’t slow down until November. With this year looking no different, I thought I’d offer you a three-step plan for getting your money’s worth at any conference you attend.

  1. ATFS (attend the fricken sessions)

Especially when a conference is held in some entertainment capital (Las Vegas and New Orleans come to mind), it’s oh so tempting to ditch a few sessions in favor of some fun. Don’t do it. Attend as many sessions as you can.

A lot of smart people put in a lot of long hours to make sure conference sessions are relevant and useful. You could very well miss a session that has the potential to change your entire credit union, all because you decided to listen to jazz and drink hurricanes all day. Don’t be that guy (guy, of course, intended in the gender-neutral sense of the word).

  1. Keep your jaw moving

A credit union conference offers a networking opportunity like no other. I don’t know whether everyone realizes how lucky we are to work in an industry where people from different organizations actually share ideas.

You won’t get that at a banking conference. You might catch some banker bragging about what they accomplished, but you sure won’t hear them sharing the secret of how they accomplished it. The competition is cutthroat.

With that in mind, make sure you talk with as many people as possible. There’s a tendency to seek out credit unions that are similar to yours, e.g., same asset size, same core processor, similar field of membership., etc. However, my experience has been that important information often comes from the most unexpected people at a conference.

In short, make as many friends as you can.

  1. Don’t forget the shopping

The biggest reason it doesn’t cost you more to attend a conference is that the expense of putting on a show is offset by the vendors who pay thousands of dollars to stand in the exhibit hall waiting for you to stop by.

Should you visit the exhibit hall to show your gratitude to the vendors? Heck, no. Who has time for that? No, you should visit the exhibit hall because it puts an unprecedented number of experts within your reach. Don’t miss the opportunity this presents.

The exhibit hall is indeed another important conference learning opportunity. The difference is, you get to decide which topics to learn about, and you typically get one-on-one time with an industry expert. Even if you don’t have an extra budget dollar to spend, it only makes sense to get edumacated whenever you get the chance.

Wanna get the most bang for your conference buck? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

John San Filippo

John San Filippo

John is the co-founder of OmniChannel Communications, Inc., a company that specializes in B2B marketing to community financial institutions. He started out in the savings and loan industry, but wisely ... Web: www.omnichannelcommunications.com Details