Don’t Let These 4 Scary Conference-Goers Haunt You

As published on Inman News (click here to view) and re-featured on NAR's YPN The Lounge site (click here to view).

Autumn is conference season! Typically, this is my favorite time of year -- the leaves are turning, there is a chill in the air, and it is the perfect time to spend at a conference networking and learning.

Well, not always.

Unfortunately, there are some conference-goers that are more creepy than any Halloween-themed fright movie.




via GIPHY


Be on the lookout for these creepy conference-goers so they do not spoil the event:


THE DISTRACTOR

The Distractor is the person who takes five precious minutes during the best statistic or speaker to ______ (fill in the blank with the annoyingly loud habit). It may be opening a peppermint and rattling the wrapping paper for what feels like eons. It may be receiving a call and actually trying to talk on it. For example, she squawks in a loud whisper "I am at a conference so I can't talk..." but then she talks for five more minutes.

Or, it could be the person that asks you a question or makes a comment at the point when you are trying to hear the most. Just like at the movies, you think, "I didn't get here before you so I don't know anymore -- why don't we both just watch and listen!"


via GIPHY

Trick or Treat: The trick here is to do not trail behind. Just as in horror movies, the person trailing the back gets picked off so grab a seat in the front away from The Distractors.


THE SEAT-SAVER

The Seat-Saver is notorious for blocking not just one chair but more like the whole row. It may be a coat, conference bags, or something as inconspicuous (and disputable) as one of the vendor flyers that seem to be on all of the chairs. No one wants a brawl at this year's epic conference so what is the best way to deal with The Seat-Saver?

Trick or Treat: The treat here is to arrive early enough that you can do some pre-session networking (which is a big win!) and claim a seat before someone else does. The "early bird still gets the worm".


THE SCHEMER

The Schemer can be either a conference attendee or... wait for it... conference speaker -- egad! When The Schemer is an attendee, despite only literally knowing her for five minutes, she now wants to form a business partnership to the extent that she needs some very personal information from you. Or, worse yet, money. Ugh. This is the equivalent to someone wanting to marry you after your first message on a dating app. No bueno!

And, do not be fooled! Even at a reputable conference, a speaker may be sketchy. Is he telling you to lie to generate or convert leads? He fits The Schemer profile. Is she trying to force you to purchase a product or service that you are not comfortable with shelling out your "duckettes"? She is The Schemer.

Sadly, I just ran into this experience and had to go on a rant about it in this video:




Trick or treat: If you have ever heard the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater", then you know that means keep the good and get rid of the bad. The Schemer can make you standoffish towards conferences. Instead of avoiding conferences altogether, the trick often is to not take large sums of cash and trust your instincts. If something feels wrong or unethical, go with your gut despite the slick words, mesmerizing testimonials, and big smile.


THE FOODIE

The Foodie is the person that seems to be at the conference only for the food selection. Will she knock you over to get to the buffet? Yes! Will he take the last rations so that even though you are blatantly behind him, there is nothing for you except the pickings left on the serving spoon? Yes! Will she bare-hand touch (ignoring the tongs) and pick through multiple pieces of bagels/pastries to see what the flavor is? Yes!

How do you not starve at an-all day conference if The Foodie beats you to the line first?

Trick or Treat: The trick is to always bring your own snack. I completely understand that since the price of the conference ticket included breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks that you may be tempted to just deal with whatever scenario arises. But it is no fun to hear your stomach grumble and growl (like your stomach is haunted) when the conference food is out and the nearby eateries are far enough away to cause you to miss a session or two.

The scariest part about conference season is if you cannot enjoy the experience. So just like in any horror movie, the morale of the story is to not sleep on these creepy folks!


via GIPHY




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