‘Tis the season for funeral conventions! All across the United States, funeral directors and professionals gather to share new knowledge with each other and see the latest products from local and national vendors. For some, conventions and conferences aren’t as rewarding as they could be. To keep you engaged and informed, here are several things you can do to make your experience at a convention as rewarding and enjoyable as possible.
Before the Convention
Become an Influencer
Do you have a great idea or practical solution to an everyday problem? If so, you should share it with your colleagues! Consider becoming a guest speaker at your local funeral convention to share your trendsetting ideas with other people in your profession. This can help elevate you to the status of knowledgeable influencer in funeral service and put your firm at the forefront of the industry.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
It can be easy to get distracted during a convention, especially with the fast-paced environment and rooms packed full of people. A few days before your convention, try making a list of things that you want to get done during the event. Your goals can be to reconnect with a vendor or mentor or even to visit the exhibit booth of a new company you’re interested in. Your list can help you stay focused and make sure that you get maximum benefit from the experience.
Divide and Conquer
You have a lot of responsibilities. Even when you’re unavailable, those items still need to be completed. To keep any sudden moments of panic at bay, make a list of everything that you need taken care of while you’re gone and delegate groups of tasks to your employees. If you are the only licensed funeral director on staff, consider partnering with another funeral professional outside your service area to arrange coverage while you’re gone. It’s also important to let every staff member know who is responsible for what to avoid any confusion or mistakes. And, of course, ensure your answering service knows who to contact for after-hours calls.
During the Convention
Continue Your Education
A major benefit of funeral conventions is the chance to attend continuing education opportunities. Many conventions offer classes that will provide funeral director, insurance or ethics credits. If you don’t have time to take one of these important classes, check out other continuing education classes provided by Homesteaders that may better fit your schedule.
Watch Keynote Speakers
A good speaker will always leave you with something to think about, which is why it is so important to sit in on as many scheduled speakers as possible during your convention experience. Even if the topic doesn’t seem relevant to your firm on the surface, it never hurts to experience everything your convention has to offer.
Investigate New Products
Take a stroll through the expo hall during your convention. Vendors often release and promote new products and special pricing during events like these. You do not have to feel obligated to purchase anything if you strike up a conversation with a vendor, but oftentimes these new products will generate ideas about your own business that you can jot down for later.
Try putting yourself outside of your comfort zone at a networking event. Not only is this good practice for general use, but you could also end up making a real connection with someone that could help your firm. It’s important to assume that everyone you are speaking with could be a future vendor, employee or even a trusted advisor.
Absorb the Optimism
A funeral convention can be an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first time attending one. Don’t sweep the optimism of vendors and speakers under the rug. Let yourself absorb the feeling of excitement and wonder, whether it’s your first convention or your 20th.
You’ll get as much value out of your funeral convention experience as you put into it. Get involved by joining in conversations and session discussion opportunities. Ask any legitimate questions that you have or offer up personal experiences and stories. You never know whom you could be helping in return.
Now that you have your list of people to see, try your best to catch up with all of them. This can help make your lasting relationships stronger. Plus, you never know when these meetings can lead to new discoveries or opportunities to grow your business.
Gain New Ideas
Let your mind consider the possibilities as you see and hear new and exciting ways of running your business. The sky is the limit at a funeral conference. Don’t think about how and why things might not work right now. Save that thinking for when you’re back in the office!
In our constantly connected world it can be very tempting to check your phone or email during the convention. To get the most out of the event, it’s important to try and avoid distractions. You will get the most benefit from being completely engaged in what you are doing without dividing your attention between other funeral professionals and replying to an email in your head. There will be time to catch up on phone calls and emails in the evenings or during breaks.
After the Convention
Bring Ideas Home
Don’t leave your great ideas in the convention hall. Bring them with you! Once you’re back in the office, go through the ideas you jotted down during the event. Take time to divide them into groups that you can put into practice now, a little later and further in the future.
More than likely, you gathered a lot of new business cards during the convention. Pick out a few people who you really connected with and make an effort to contact them again and say ‘thanks’ or ‘nice to meet you.’ You can do this by adding them on LinkedIn, or on Twitter or Facebook (if you keep those platforms professional and not personal). You can also send them an email or make a quick phone call.
There are endless benefits to attending professional conventions in your area. Whether you attend for education, networking or just to keep up on current trends, attending is a must for local funeral professionals.
Not sure where to start? View the list of state and national conventions that Homesteaders representatives will be attending this year.