We asked some the most experienced Connect-goers, the Ambassadors, to share some useful information to help you plan your first (or maybe it’s your seventh…) Connect. Here are 30 tips to keep in mind as you gear up for the best event to kick off  2017!

Pre-conference prep

Organization is the key to your success. 

1. Download the app: Be sure to fill out your profile. The app is a great way to screen who will be attending and set up coffee or drinks ahead of time.

2. Spend some time in the Inman Coast To Coast Facebook group. Engage in conversations. Seek out anyone who may be arriving at the same time as you are from the airport- carpool and start connecting the minute you get to NYC.

3. Look into the various speakers and attendees to see if you’d like to meet any of them. Reach out to these people beforehand to set up a coffee or meeting. People are most likely to respond to a private Instagram or Snapchat message — emails are a dime a dozen!

4. Plan your packing days in advance, so you’re sure to have your simple, interchangeable business wardrobe, footwear, and essentials ready to go.

5. Get to know who the Ambassadors are! Not only will you benefit from all the shared info before the conference — but you’ll have a group of people you’ll have already connected with!

6. Perform a social media audit — do all of your profiles feature your updated information? Do you use the same headshot for each? Is everything current? Make it as easy as possible for the people that you meet at the conference to find you.

5. Make sure that your social channels all include your city and state (and country for our international attendees). When the people you meet look for referral partners, this information is valuable. Are you an agent? A broker? A vendor? Make that part of your visible profile so you can be found.

6. Identify your feeder markets and seek out potential referral partners in those markets. Having an established referral network of trusted professionals you have met in person can be a great selling point in a listing presentation.

7. Do your research, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes the best, and the most beautiful, surprises are the ones that are totally unexpected and unplanned! Come with your heart wide open.

During the conference

8. Don’t plan on going to sleep early! Networking opportunities don’t end when the sessions do.

9. Be ready to jump on the random last-minute lunch and cocktail invites. Some of the best contacts can come from a “You want to get lunch with us right now?” Don’t be shy about asking to tag along when you see a group heading out the door or conducting a round table in the breezeways. Everyone comes to Connect with the hope of doing just that: connecting. There are no strangers here.

10. Don’t spend the whole week with people you already know! This is a unique opportunity to meet agents from all over the world, affiliated with companies outside of your own. Step out of your comfort zone and make it a point to have coffee with someone new each morning. Be strategic in your approach; were you born and raised in a different market than you work now?  If so, find agents from that market for potential referral partnerships.   

11. Engage with the vendors. Make a list of the problems you need solved, and check out Vendor Alley for solutions.

12. You may hear people refer to “Lobbycon.” This is the great conversations and sharing that happens outside the sessions and after hours. Go say “Hi!”

13. Take advantage of the early-morning opportunities to join a group going for a run, walk or getting coffee. Some of the best conversations happen when like-minded people get up and out early in the day to exercise their body or wake up their brain!

14. Tweet! Be sure to be a part of the conversation offline and online. Follow @InmanConnect and use #ICNY.  

Navigating the schedule

15. Don’t feel overwhelmed because you can’t be everywhere at once.

16. Step out of your comfort zone and attend some sessions that have content that you may not be too familiar with rather than attend sessions where you may know as much as the speakers.

17. Don’t try to do it all alone. Get a group of agents to go to ICNY together. Decide which sessions you all would want to attend, then divide and conquer. Reconnect at lunch or dinner, or after the event, and share notes.

18. Remember that Inman Select members can watch recordings of some of the sessions post-Connect, so you don’t have to be rushing from room to room to catch all the tracks you want to attend.

19. Sit down in the sessions next to people you don’t know and introduce yourself. Make sure to add your location in the introduction.

20. Get to sessions early if you want to have a good seat. On the same note, leave a session and head to another if you aren’t getting what you need from it. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions!

Exploring beyond #ICNY

Explore beyond Times Square — because there’s way more to NYC than that.

21. Use OpenTable or a similar app to book your lunch/dinner plans. Tables can fill up fast on lunch breaks and making quick reservations will ease your dining stress!

22. Ask local agents where their favorite spots are.

23. Be prepared for weather. It might be warmish, or it might be snowmageddon. NYC winters are unpredictable.

24. A wise man once told me: You never want to be the last person in the bar at a conference. Remember that you’re representing yourself on a large industry stage. Referral partnerships are sometimes born over coffee and destroyed by behaviors witnessed past midnight.  

25. Ask the Ambassadors for some hidden gems.

What else?

26. Seek out Billy Ekofo — and thank us later.

27. Many people dismiss business cards, but have them on hand, preferably one that can be written on and has your office address. You never know when your new friend could be traveling through your town.

28. Bring several backup mobile phone battery packs/sticks; one for you and one to lend to another attendee sitting near you in a session. It’s a great way to break the ice and stay in touch during the conference.

29. Drink a lot of water. Bring snacks!

30. The session rooms can be cold. Carry a sweater.

Be generous. Listen. Smile.

Do you have something to add? Tweet it using #ICNY. 

Email Amrit Judge

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