My First Real Estate Conference - What Was I Thinking?
I remember the day like it was yesterday, my boss approached me and asked if I was free a couple Wednesdays from the day, not knowing what to expect, I replied “Well, I’m pretty sure I’m working that day so I’m good for whatever you need me to do”, she then told me she would like me to join some of the team at an upcoming real estate conference. I was so excited; not only for the opportunity to do something that could benefit my future real estate career, but I also felt included.
A few days later she sent me the details of the event and then my excitement turned into fear, dread, and finally, panic. I had never been to a conference, and I certainly didn’t know how they worked. My fear was that they were going to separate everyone in the room into large workgroups and that I would be forced to face my fear of public speaking (yes, I have a fear of speaking to even small groups); My hands start to shake, my voice gets shaky and it sounds like I’m going to cry, I overheat, and I turn beat red.
The conference started at 8:30AM but we were asked to show up at least half an hour early to register. The conference was held at a hotel in Niagara Falls, only about 20 minutes from my house so I gave myself 45 minutes to get there and register. I spent a good 15 minutes driving up and down the road looking for the hotel’s parking lot only to learn it was in the back on a different street. I was so worried I was late, it was 8:10AM when I arrived. I registered, walked in, and gazed around the room full of circular tables full of Realtors looking for a familiar face. Nobody in sight. I waited by the registration table, looked over the names on the guest list and saw that nobody from my team had arrived. What was I to do? Did I mention that I’m super socially awkward sometimes? I then proceeded to walk into the conference room and scoured the room for an empty table, to my dismay, there were none, so I walked out of the room hoping someone from my team would show up and accompany me to a semi-full table. I repeated this process about seven times until I finally mustered up the courage to ask if there was room for a few more at a nearly empty table. The jingle from the baby’s pull-ups commercial comes to mind when I think of how ridiculous I was for avoiding finding a table on my own and how relieved I was when I finally did, “I’m a big kid now”. As I sat in my big girl chair awkwardly glancing at the entrance every 10 seconds, my team started entering the room one by one until we filled the table. A little voice inside my head was telling me to give them a piece of my mind for having arrived so late, leaving this awkward, fragile little girl by herself for so long (notice the sarcasm), but I held my pride and my tongue.
The conference itself was very informative and the speakers were great. They gave us real estate marketing and networking tips and tricks based off their experiences, and showed us slides with useful example documents which prompted a room full of agents to take out their phones and snap pictures of the screen. Then three quarter ways through we got to choose which speakers we would like to hear more from and gathered in separate rooms to get more in-depth information on the topics of our choosing.
By the end of the day, I had a brain full of information and a stomach full from the large lunch they provided, and I was so happy I attended. I can honestly say, I think everyone can benefit from attending conferences in their respective fields, especially real estate agents. And for those awkward people like myself, as Nike would say, “Just do it”.