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HARDI (Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International) did something interesting in leading up to its recent national convention, held Nov. 1 - 4 in Orlando. Among the materials sent with its convention registration package was a “Conference To-Do List.” Items to be checked off included:
- Review Conference schedule.
- Set goals for what to bring back from the
- Take Conference brochure home for spouse to
- Determine who else in the firm will benefit from
attending the Conference.
- Route the HARDI Conference brochure to …
- Submit Conference Registration Form to HARDI hq.
- Call to make hotel reservations (hotel name and
phone number provided).
- Arrange for travel to Orlando, FL
- Questions: Call HARDI at 888-253-2128.
This was a neat idea that served as a gentle reminder for members to take action toward signing up for the convention rather than putting the registration materials aside.
Of all the bullet points detailed above, one that deserves special attention is the second - “Set goals for what to bring back from the Conference.”
Conventions and conferences too often get treated as social junkets rather than premier educational opportunities. This can be rectified by requiring that attendees heed HARDI’s advice and plan ahead of time which programs to attend, and then to take notes and write reports to share with others in the company. Ideally, when more than one person in a company attends such an event, they should split up and cover as many sessions as possible.
Alas, frequently conventions are treated as mainly social events, with only the top executives attending. Although this is their privilege, it diminishes the value to be derived from attending. I don’t want to over-generalize here, because I see many of our industry’s top leaders attending educational programs. Yet many of them could be teaching these sessions and don’t get as much out of them as less experienced people would further down the corporate ladder.