The Confluence of Learning, Networking and Succeeding by: Katherine Robinette CPSM

SMPS San Diego Chap­ter Blog, Novem­ber 2012 

The Con­flu­ence of Learn­ing, Net­work­ing, and Suc­ceed­ing

BY: Kather­ine Robi­nette CPSM 

If you saw me at the SMPS Nation­al Con­fer­ence this past sum­mer, jug­gling on-stage with writer and keynote speak­er Greg Bell dur­ing “Water the Bam­boo,” you might find it dif­fi­cult to believe that I am a nerd. It’s true, ‘tho. I am a ham, and a nerd. I am one of those life-long learn­ers who eats up books on mar­ket­ing, man­age­ment, and life as if they were Pop Tarts. Nat­u­ral­ly, it fol­lows that if I am going to spend mon­ey on a con­fer­ence, I had bet­ter learn a ton and be able to bring back some­thing tan­gi­ble to my cowork­ers and com­pa­ny to make it worth the invest­ment. 

The 2013 Pacif­ic Region­al Con­fer­ence deliv­ers. Just look­ing at the ses­sion titles gives me goose bumps: “Social Media Pan­el,” “Strate­gies for Suc­cess­ful Team­ing with Mega Firms,” “Har­ness­ing the Emo­tion­al Impact of Visu­al Images to Sell Your Firm,” “Fif­teen Über-Trends That Will Rock Our World,” and more… It is dizzy­ing to think what can be learned in these three days in Feb­ru­ary.

Need tips on how to make sure the session’s infor­ma­tion applies to you/your com­pa­ny? Here is my strat­e­gy:

1)     Make a list of up to 10 things that are dri­ving you crazy about work right now. Don’t cen­sor your­self, but don’t inflate either. Keep it real.

2)     Talk to your coworkers/colleagues about what is dri­ving them crazy about work right now. Add their items to your list.

3)     Review the con­fer­ence ses­sions. The ses­sion descrip­tions are avail­able now on www​.smps​-prc​.org. For each ses­sion, com­pare the top­ic with your list of crazy-mak­ing things. Can the ses­sion pro­vide insights/solutions for two or more things on the list? Then it is a can­di­date for atten­dance.

4)     Cre­ate a plan for how you will share what you learn once you get back to the office. The eas­i­est way is a brown bag pre­sen­ta­tion. Focus on the solutions/insights for your list.

5)     If you need to get approval for the expen­di­ture of attend­ing the con­fer­ence, take your list of crazy-mak­ing things and the ses­sion descrip­tions to the dis­cus­sion. Point out how much time/energy is wast­ed on the crazy-mak­ing thing, and which session(s) could help pro­vide solu­tions. High­light your strat­e­gy for shar­ing the con­fer­ence infor­ma­tion once you return, so more peo­ple will ben­e­fit from the expen­di­ture.

6)     Reg­is­ter. Reserve your hotel night(s). Secure your flights.

7)     Attend. Take notes; ful­ly par­tic­i­pate.

8)     Share your list of crazy-mak­ing things with oth­er atten­dees, and lis­ten to their ideas/solutions – per­haps over din­ner at Wednesday’s Restau­rant Round-up. That’s called net­work­ing by some. I call it “research.”

9)     Com­pile your infor­ma­tion; share the solu­tions; cross some things off the crazy-mak­ing list. 

My phi­los­o­phy as co-chair for this year’s Pacif­ic Region­al Con­fer­ence has been to cram as much learn­ing into three days as human­ly pos­si­ble. And yes, all of the fun is still there, too. They go hand-in-hand: work hard; play hard­er. Join us at the con­flu­ence of the Willamette and Colum­bia Rivers in Port­land, Ore­gon. Edu­cate, moti­vate, and ener­gize your­self at PRC, so you can con­tin­ue to be the best in your field. Unleash your inner nerd.

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