Note: I’ve asked several people to share their thoughts and experiences about what Real Estate Connect has meant to them with our FOREM readers. Look for these special “Connect Stories” here on FOREM leading up to Real Estate Connect San Francisco, July 27-29, 2011. Our third Connect guest post is from our friend Michael McClure, the President & CEO of Professional One Franchising, LLC (@ProfessionalOne on Twitter). Thank you Michael! – Katie

@InmanConnect #ICSF

What do LL Cool J and I have in common? We’re going back to Cali.

I DO think so!

Last July, I had the privilege of being asked to speak at Inman Real Estate Connect San Francisco (ICSF). It was my first experience at a national conference, and I had an amazing time.

I forged crucial relationships those few days by the Bay, and made key connections that benefit me greatly today. As I love to say it, everything good happening in my business right now is Social Media-based, and “ground zero” for it all was ICSF last year.

And the good people at Inman News were kind enough to invite back to speak again at this year’s conference.

But here’s the thing: I would be going back to Cali – specifically, to Real Estate Connect San Francisco – no matter what.

I had such a great time last year, there’s simply no way that I would miss it this year. Or next year. Or the year after that. Or the year after that. Okay, I’m sure you’re getting my point, right?

Oh, and before I forget, let me add this: I never had any interest in attending industry events before I went to ICSF last year. Now? I attend every one I can. I went to a number of Agent Reboots last year, and I also attended Real Estate Connect New York this past January.

So, why am I so bullish on ICSF? More importantly, why do I consider ICSF
the “can’t miss” event of the year?

Here are my top five reasons why you need to be at ICSF this year:

• Connecting: OK, this is obvious, given the name – “Real Estate Connect” – but it is still worth noting. For the people who live and move in the space that is of most interest to me – the swirling vortex of the “real estate/tech/Social Media” mashup – ICSF is the place to connect with the people who are moving the needle in that space. Chris Smith. Nicole Nicolay. Matthew Shadbolt. The 1000Watt crew. Reggie Nicolay. The list goes on.

• Learning: With seemingly EVERYTHING being turned on its head these days in real estate, and with technology morphing and changing and iterating at such an incredible pace, we simply must stay as current as possible to stay competitive. ICSF is THE PLACE to learn from the brightest minds in the game, the very people who are creating and leveraging all these changes. I participated in a broker breakout session led by Marc Davison, and what I learned in just that one session – about lead generation at the broker level and how top brokerages were handling that process – was truly invaluable to me.

• Visiting: San Francisco is simply magical. If you’ve never been, you must come and see it for yourself. And if you have been, then you already know how amazing that city is. The combination of dining, sight-seeing, shopping and people watching, combined with the overall vibe and ambience, make this a city like no other. It’s an enchanted place, for sure.

• Socializing: What’s really cool about these events is how they transition from serious learning to serious socializing so seamlessly. As much as I learn at these conferences, it’s the potential for meeting people and getting to know them on a personal level that really makes them special. The highlight of ICSF for me last year was the evening spent at an eclectic bar called Swig. It was a true happening.

• Energizing:
The combination of the aforementioned factors – connecting, learning, visiting and socializing – all adds up to this last point, which is that you simply cannot attend ICSF and not come away jazzed, stoked, geeked and all jacked up on Inman Dew. For me, last year’s ICSF was where I confirmed that I was on the right track in terms of tech and Social Media, and that alone was worth ten times the price of admission. Seeing what I saw and learning what I learned has fueled me all these months since.

I would implore you to check out ICSF. And,if you attend, I certainly hope to meet you personally. Let’s Connect!

(Here is a video Mike filmed about Real Estate Connect)

Do you have a Connect Story you’d like to share? Did coming to Connect profoundly change you, your outlook, your team or your business? All of the above? If so, I want to hear from you and possibly feature you here on FOREM. Leave me a comment below or email me katie (at) inman (dot) com.

Join the Connect conversation on Facebook and Twitter (#ICSF)

Katie Lance, Social Media Director, Inman News, @katielance

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