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    How to Get the Most Out of Your IFMA WW Experience

    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    We hope you are as excited as the iOffice team is about the International Facilities Management Association's World Workplace Conference & Expo this September. With so many things to see and so much information to take in, it is important you make the most of every moment you are there. To help you get the full Conference experience, we have compiled a list of must-dos that we have learned along the way.

    Come Prepared

    The IFMA Conference is loaded with guest speakers, CEU-approved courses and networking opportunities. The Conference website provides you all the information you need to research topics most relevant to you and theiStock_000019098533Small facility you manage. Prepare ahead of time by determining those “not to be missed” sessions and create a schedule for yourself using the IFMA schedule builder. The Expo hall is filled with vendors who are on the cutting edge of technology and innovative ideas. Avoid that overwhelming feeling by researching those vendors you do not want to miss, locate them on the floor plan, and request an appointment.

    To ensure you don’t find yourself missing those necessary resources, make a list now of all your Conference essentials. Be sure to pack a stack of business cards, pen and paper, and comfortable walking shoes. Download the mobile app onto your iPhone or Android to avoid the unnecessary clutter of floor plan and schedule print-outs.

    Arrive Early

    While the official dates of the IFMA Conference are September 17-19, 2014, the festivities begin the Saturday before, with the Fall Symposium. If you are looking for further career advancement, this is a great opportunity to attain credentials such as CFM®, FMP® and SFP®. You can learn more regarding course topics, cost, and registration here.

    Be a part of the IFMA’s fundraising efforts by attending the annual golf tournament. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the facilities management profession and meet some of the leaders in the industry in a totally relaxed atmosphere.

    Have you ever heard the saying “the early bird gets the worm”? Be sure to arrive early to each learning session and event. Remember, if you aren’t 5 minutes early then you are late – and it’s bad manners to arrive late!

    Attend As Many Events As Possible

    At first glance, the Conference schedule may seem a little overwhelming; but the schedule is set up to accommodate everyone’s needs and goals. From the Speaker’s Lounge to the Networking Break and the educational sessions, you do not want to miss a second. Be sure to leave time for New Orleans culture and fun with the Welcome Reception at Mardi Gras World.

    Bring Something To Take Notes

    You will hear A LOT of valuable information throughout your week in New Orleans. Do not take a chance on forgetting anything-be sure to bring a notebook and pen for all your note taking needs.

    Introduce Yourself To The Speakers After A Session

    The guest speakers are here to share their knowledge and experiences and are genuinely excited to talk about everything they have learned through their careers thus far. So this is no time to be shy; take an opportunity to introduce yourself to the speaker after each session. Ask questions and provide any feedback. This is a wonderful networking opportunity-you never know who you may meet along the way.

    Elizabeth Dukes is speaking on Thursday at 4pm and she would love to meet each and everyone of you. Plus, for those that go up and introduce themselves after her talk, you will receive a signed, free copy of her book “Wide Open Workspace”.

    Ask Your Peers To Introduce You To Trusted Vendors And Other Peers

    Aside from all the knowledge you stand to gain, this Conference is an opportunity to network with your peers in the FM profession. Make it your mission to engage in meaningful conversations with your contemporaries and find out who their trusted vendors are (and why). Be sure to hand out your business cards to those you meet along the way and collect their business cards for future conversations.

    Follow Up With The Folks You Meet Once You Return Home

    To be a leader in the FM profession, networking is key. Don’t just file away all those business cards you collected while at the Convention, follow up with those contacts once you have returned home. Not only do you stand to make lifelong friends, you gain powerful allies on your leadership journey.

    This year’s IFMA Conference, held in New Orleans, promises to provide a wealth of information. Put on your walking shoes, keep your pen and paper handy, and put your networking skills to work. And don’t forget to leave a little time for outside activities such as visiting the French Quarter, Ghost Tours and Jazz sessions in one of the local clubs.

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    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.