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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 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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