The value of networking is understood by those at the top of their field; improve your life and work by heading to Portland in August.
The CSA Conference is just a month away, taking place August 28-30 in Portland, Oregon. It can be easy to think that you’re needed at your business and can’t leave, or you may wonder if it is worth the time, cost and hassle to attend. Apart from earning 12 continuing education credits for CSA recertification (which is reason enough to go), the experience can dramatically impact your business and life satisfaction.
The key is to network with others you’ll meet at the conference in your profession nationwide and your local community. While you will learn much to bring back and improve your business if you sit in a corner at every session and simply listen to the many speakers addressing the challenges of our time in the aging industry, you will get, and give, increased value by networking.
What Can I Give?
Networking is not so much about you, but about the person you’re connecting with. “The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the ‘other’ person,” according to influencer Bob Burg. Author and entrepreneur Keith Ferrazzi puts it another way, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
The CSA conference is an opportunity to share what and who you know with others who can be helped by that information. Everyone has something to give, even if you may not realize it. Seasoned professionals have years of client and professional interactions to draw from, but younger counterparts may be able to recommend management software or have recent university contacts.
Consider what renowned motivational speaker Zig Zigler has to say about networking: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Yes, we can help our clients achieve their goals, but it’s also crucial to reach out to colleagues with professional assistance.
Going to conference puts you face-to-face with hundreds of other aging industry professionals. It’s not hard to strike up a conversation with someone else you noticed in your session on family information management or fiduciary litigation; you already share an interest. Perhaps you can introduce that person to a colleague, or offer to be a resource for a problem she’s dealing with in her practice. Try approaching every new contact with “How can I help?” instead of “What can she offer me?” See how changing your mindset changes your outcomes.
The conference has four tracks:
- Financial and Insurance
- Healthcare and Home Care
- Legal and Public Policy
- Social Interest and Lifestyle
These tracks can help you find others in your field or a complementary one, but don’t stop there. Check around for CSAs from your city and consider starting a local group for exchanging information and reaching out to your community.
Local Group, Big Impact
Jay Kweskin, the owner/operator of senior care advisor company KwesCare in St. Louis, did exactly that. He met one other hometown CSA at his first conference and they started the St. Louis CSA Leaders Network when they returned home. After contacting local CSAs, the group began with meetings where members would speak about their profession, then began inviting guest speakers and traveling to meet with other CSAs and professionals.
The group began outreach in the St. Louis area, such as visiting a boxing gym that works with people who have Parkinson’s disease. Now, members are invited to sit on university panels and organize seminars. You can read about Jay’s leadership group in an upcoming issue of the CSA Journal. Better yet, head to the conference and meet Jay at a leadership session or the leadership booth. You can email Jay for more information.
Have you met your local AARP or Alzheimer’s Association professional? Have you personally toured venues in your area or state that offer innovative programs to benefit older adults? Forming a local group can facilitate these relationships to the benefit of all involved.
Finally, let’s consider a quote by famed author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki. You may have read his book, “Rich Man, Poor Man” about the power of owning your own business. Here’s what he thinks about creating contacts:
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.”
Now, sign up for the 2019 CSA Conference to make new relationships, build on ones you have, and get the most out of your professional career and life.
Click below for the other articles in the July 2019 Senior Spirit