It's time to head to InspectionWorld Las Vegas, ASHI's annual conference, for a great learning experience and some quality networking. Once you're there, the time goes too quickly. How can you make the most of your limited time? Try these five tips to get the most from your conference experience.
1. Plan ahead
Register early and save. Conference registration early-bird pricing continues until Nov. 30!
Book your hotel accommodations at Bally's Las Vegas to be close to the action. You don't want to miss a thing. The $69 ASHI Group room rate is available for the nights of Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 through Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.
Make a list of the events, activities and sessions you plan to attend each day and the vendors you want to visit. Review the schedule of events, the education sessions and more on the InspectionWorld website, www.inspectionworld.org, and in the InspectionWorld preliminary program you received last month and will receive again next month.
These special events are sure to produce interesting discussions:
- Planning Your Chapter Peer Review, Monday, Jan. 14, 7:30-8:30 a.m., in the Grand Salon. Learn how to organize a Peer Review for your chapter. Many chapters hold annual peer reviews and consider this to be the most valuable chapter event, benefiting new and experienced inspectors.
- Inspector Tool Time, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7:30-8:30 a.m., in the Grand Salon. Participate in an open discussion with home inspectors regarding which tools are essential during inspections.
- Ask the Experts Panel Discussion, Monday, Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in the Event Center Office. Get expert advice from our panel: Douglas Hansen, Kenny Hart and Jack McGraw. Submit a question at the ASHI Booth or ask one at the event.
- Ladder Safety Demonstrations & Training, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 3:00-4:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 16, 9:30-10:00 a.m., in the Grand Salon. The American Ladder Institute will demonstrate the proper use of ladders and provide ladder safety training.
- Post-Conference Course: Three-Day Commercial Building Inspection Course, Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 17-19, a complete education on starting up and running a commercial inspection business presented by Richard Weldon, P. Eng., of Carson Dunlop Weldon & Assoc. Ltd. Learn more at www.theashischool.com.
2. Arrive early
Your IW experience begins on Sunday, Jan. 13. Attend one of the four excellent pre-conference courses. Or, you might choose to take a trip to Hoover Dam. The expo hall officially opens at 3:00 p.m. and the Opening Night Reception begins at 5:00 p.m. The expo hall is a vibrant, bustling center of activity. Plan to meet up with old friends and connect with new ones. Refreshments will be served and large tables are available for relaxing and conversing.
3. Make connections
Hand out business cards and introduce yourself to other home inspectors, swap stories and exchange ideas. Collect business cards and write notes on the back to remember the person. Visit the vendors who are ready to assist you with the latest in inspector tools and services. Be sure to stop at the ASHI booth to meet the ASHI staff and check out the newest merchandise. Associates: Meet with Jim Johnson, ASHI Verifier, who will verify your reports and answer questions.
4. Take notes
A padfolio and pen are provided in your conference bag together with a CD of presentation handouts. Three full days of educational sessions include a wide variety of topics, from basics to advanced, specialties, diversification and business management. The 45 sessions will be taught by dozens of the industry's leading experts. Many topics and presenters are new this year.
After each presentation, ask yourself what struck you, what did you learn? Perhaps there was a specific tip that you use in your own work. What key take-away from each presentation is worth additional consideration?
5. Include time for fun
The Opening Night Reception, President's Gala Dinner and Dance, and ASHI Annual Business and Networking Luncheon are scheduled events where you and your colleagues can gather and share good times. Be sure to take time to step out and see the sights of exciting Las Vegas. Bally's is centrally located on Las Vegas Boulevard, across the street from Bellagio's fountain and connected to the Paris Resort Casino. Hop aboard the monorail to see the town.
After the conference, don't let the connections die. The most valuable reward from a conference is the connections you make, people you meet. Follow up with friends or instructors with an email or text message, continue the relationship and say "See you next year at IW."
Michele George is the ASHI IW and education manager. She can be reached at 847-954-3188 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.