In a little more than a month, CSAs from across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for the 2016 CSA Conference. Attending a conference is a big investment. There are many costs including registration, travel, lodging, and time away from work.
There are also many profitable returns that can result from an investment in attending a professional conference. Over the past twenty-five years I’ve had the opportunity to attend, present at, sponsor, organize, and host many conferences for professionals in the aging space. These experiences have taught me four simple strategies that can help optimize return on your conference investment:
1. Show Up
The business of aging is a relationship-based business and success begins with showing up. It’s a great thing that technology enables CSAs to connect through social media and other remote communication platforms. That said, meaningful business relationships also require a “low tech, high connect” experience that results from meeting in person and spending time together.
2. Be Seen as a Leader
Your commitment to continuing education and professional development gains you access to trends and innovations in your field that can strengthen your brand as a specialist in aging.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader is important to business growth. When you attend the CSA Conference you have access to key influencers in aging including attendees, presenters, sponsors, and conference host staff. Contact in advance your colleagues who will also be in D.C. and make plans meet. Leveraging your conference attendance to strengthen existing business relationships can be as important and making new contacts.
3. Meaningful Engagement Matters
Sometimes more is more and sometimes a few meaningful connections can yield important results when you return home to your business.
Think beyond traditional networking business card exchanges as you meet new people. By doing your homework, you can identify in advance people associated with topics and innovations that are relevant to your business. Pay attention to the people around you in the education sessions you attend and introduce yourself to presenters and attendees who share your business interests.
4. Be Authentic
When you attend the CSA Conference you are visible as a committed business and aging leader. You have access to new and long-time colleagues. This is the ideal environment to be yourself and introduce your colleagues to the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you bring to the table.
You might learn at a reception or break that someone you have known for years has an innovative business solution that could lead to an important strategic partnership. Listen, be open to new ideas, meet and reconnect with people, and be yourself. It is at events like the CSA Conference where the business of aging gets done and I hope to see you in D.C. August 26-28.
- By Khristine Rogers
Khristine Rogers is a CSA, geronbiz pioneer, and the President at the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.