Comfortech 2015 is a month away. If you are planning to attend, and you should, here is how to get the most out of the week.
1. Register Now
If you haven’t already registered, do it now. If you wait to the last minute, you will come up with reasons not to attend. There will be some crisis that demands your personal involvement. You will think it cannot be solved without. Phooey.
That’s personal vanity talking. Your people are more capable than you think. They will solve the problems that come along and can always ring you for any critical decisions.
You will not get anything out of Comfortech if you do not attend in the first place. Register now and you make a commitment. Besides, hotel rooms are going fast. The two hotels next to the convention hall are sold you. You are going to need to get a room in a nearby hotel and walk to the convention. Make your reservations today so you do not need to walk as far.
2. Set Objectives
What do you want to accomplish at Comfortech? Identify two or three specific objectives. For example, you could seek to build a network of other contractors from around the country you can reach out to and bounce ideas off of in the future. You might seek ideas for improvement in a specific area or simply in general. You could seek answers to specific problems in your company, especially problems you have trouble discussing with others internally (e.g., issues with a key manager). Identify the outcomes before you leave.
Look over the seminar schedule and identify the sessions you want to attend. You might pick them based on the topic or based on the speaker. For example, I will attend any session with Ron Smith. I also look for marketing sessions, especially ones focusing on new media.
Look over the list of exhibitors. Note any products or services exhibited that you want to learn more about. It’s helpful to list the exhibitors you most want to visit.
4. Make Advance Appointments
Reach out in advance to any consultants or exhibitors you want to meet. Set an appointment to meet at an exhibition booth or to simply over coffee.
5. Use Index Cards
You will want to take notes at Comfortech. You will want to take notes during seminars, of course. You will also find yourself wanting to capture ideas picked up during a bull session with other contractors during breaks, at the hotel bar, and over meals. While you can use your phone to take notes, I find it easier to carry 4” X 6” index cards and write one idea per card. They come in handy when it is time to prioritize.
6. Bring Lots of Business Cards
Do not forget business cards. Bring a stack of them and make a point to give them all away. Remember, the natural response to receiving a business card is to hand your own back. This is how you can build a network of people as a future resource.
7. Take Advantage of Social Time
Comfortech includes a number of social events. Other groups, like the Service Roundtable supplement the parties with parties of their own. After a full day of seminars and a show, you might be tempted to pass on the evening’s social event. That would be a mistake.
The social events give you a chance to mix with fellow contractors and industry consultants in a relaxed atmosphere. Contractors often tell me they pick up for information at the social events than the seminars.
8. Introduce Yourself
If you do not know anyone at an event, walk up to people and introduce yourself. It is not at all unusual, though it may feel strange the first time you do it. I’ve introduced myself to perfect strangers at industry conferences for decades. Some of the strangers became good friends. I’ve also met strangers at Comfortech who became customers, employees, and suppliers. A lot of business results from simple introductions.
9. Pace Yourself
As someone in my office explained to a Comfortech newbie, “This is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to pace yourself.”
Indeed. Comfortech can take a lot out of you. Watch how late you stay out and how much you indulge. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep each night of the show. The social events tend to include a lot of food, but it is not necessarily a balanced diet. Make a point of eating well and you will have more stamina.
10. Work the Show
Take your list of prioritized exhibitors and visit them first. You may not get through them the first day. Do not worry. On the second day you can walk the floor to browse the rest of the show.
When the show is over and you are heading home, take out your index cards. Find the one card that contains the most important or most actionable idea. Set it aside. Find the next most important idea, followed by the third. You now have the top three action steps you will take as a result of attending Comfortech. When you complete these, you can prioritize the rest.
12. Take Action
Now that you have prioritized three action items, go to work on the first. Until you complete it, do not worry about any of the others. If it is the most important, complete it before starting any other initiative. Pareto’s Law applies to Comfortech. Around 20% of the contractors who attend will get 80% of the positive results. These are the 20% who take immediate action.
Join the Service Roundtable to hear bestselling business author, T. Scott Gross in the Service Roundtable’s meeting immediately preceding Comfortech. Your membership will also give you entry into the Service Roundtable Members Only Sessions, the Member Party, and the Member Lounge. Call 877.262.3341 for more information and special savings on your Comfortech registration.
Go to www.comfortechshow.com and sign up right now.