The 2017 CPCU Society Leadership Summit starts Thursday in Baltimore, MD, and both Carly and Tony will be there!
We have loved our experience each and every time we’ve attended both the Leadership Summit and the Annual Meeting.
1. Understand that the Annual Meeting and the Leadership Summit are different animals with different crowds:
The annual meeting is largely for the New Designees and as such a lot of the sessions are aimed at educating and engaging them. The large crowds make it difficult to network with the right people and since you can’t meet all several thousand attendees, who you meet ends up being kind of luck of the draw. The leadership summit is much smaller in the number of people it attracts, usually around 350. But everyone there is a leader in the CPCU Society in one way or another. Most people are there because they are are the President or Vice-President of one of the local chapters, but many are there because they’re members of different committees, task force or interest groups. Take the time to ask people not only about their day job, but also what brought them to the Summit.
2. Download the conference app:
The Institutes and the Society have been working hard in making the conference app better and better each year. Download it ahead of time and learn how to use it to get the most out of the conference. Look for the email you received in the last few weeks about how to download it.
3. Plan ahead:
Check LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the Institutes Community for who is going to the event that you might want to connect with so you know what they look like and can maximize your chance of introducing yourself. With thousands of people at the Annual Meeting, your chances of recognizing someone specific are low, while at the Leadership Summit it’s much easier.
4. Dress sharp, but don’t overdo it:
Tony used to always be guilty of overdressing. Don’t make the same mistakes he did. Put on something nicer than jeans, and definitely look put together and professional. Or you can create a crazy personal brand like Tony and his superhero shirts. Casually professional is probably best, especially if it’s your first time.
5. Use the Connect feature:
The app includes a Connect section that allows people to Check In at the conference and allow themselves to be listed as an attendee. Make sure you do Check In so you get listed on the app and make sure you list your contact information in case someone you connect with loses your business card or doesn’t get a chance to exchange it with you.
6. Remember why you’re there, but also think of the future:
Make sure you bring back notes for your chapter about the sessions you attended and take the time to pick the brains of fellow attendees for solutions to the problems your chapter is facing, especially if your chapter sponsored your trip. But also keep in mind that this is an excellent time to find new ways to get involved in the society beyond the chapter level by discovering and connecting with the committee, task force or interest group that matches your interests. Also, this is an amazing opportunity to connect with the leaders at companies you might want to work for in the future. If you meet them at the Leadership Conference they will already think of you as a go-getter because only go-getters have their CPCUs and are actively involved!
7. Participate in the sessions:
The sessions at the Leadership Summit are much more interactive than in the Annual Meeting because of the more intimate setting. Make the most out of each session you attend by being an active participant and speaking up. Let others hear your ideas that might benefit them. This is one of the very best ways to network. Having someone come up to you after a session to say “I loved that idea you shared” is a much more effective way to connect than begging them for a business card during cocktail hour 😛 .
8. Write hand-written notes to those you connected with:
You worked hard to make a good impression on the fellow CPCU leaders you met at the Summit. Solidify that impression as soon as you get home by sending them a handwritten thank you note.
9. Never eat alone:
Whenever you go in for a complimentary breakfast or lunch try to seat with somebody new and connect. There are many dinner outings happening during the Leadership Summit. Pretty much every local chapter, committee and interest group will be having a dinner on one of the nights. Make it your goal to connect with a committee or interest group that sounds interesting and to get invited to their dinner. This will be the best opportunity to connect with the group and quickly become one of them!
10. Go to Carly’s Session:
Carly is leading the panel discussion “Interest Group Leader Training” at 8 am on Saturday. Don’t miss it, ask tons of questions, make some noise!
11. Join the conversation on Twitter at #CPCU17:
Conferences are much more fun if you tweet about them. As always the person who posts the best selfie with Carly to #CPCU17 twitter hashtag gets a free drink from Tony!
One Bonus Tip:
Have fun but remember this is a business event! Expert tip: The International Interest Group (3IG) always hosts the best parties. Follow them on Twitter!