You’ve brought your business cards, you’ve scheduled your networking events, and you’re ready to mix, mingle, and learn. We’re ready to help you succeed and enjoy a fantastic event. We sat down with incoming SIOR Global President Mark Duclos for some insider tips on how to make the most of an SIOR conference.
SIOR: You’ve been to 32 conferences, and quite a few now as a member of the SIOR Board of Directors. How does it feel to now be leading the conference as the next SIOR President?
Duclos: It’s awesome! I remember coming to my first conference and I was scared to death. The content was great…the people were great…but I didn’t know anyone! But once I got out of my comfort zone and began meeting people, it became incredibly fulfilling. I stuck with it!!! Now 16 years later I am the President of SIOR and the rest is history! I am the President of THE organization that has made THE most significant impact on my professional career (and in many ways my company and my life)! President of an organization whose members humble me daily. Many members who I aspire to be like.
SIOR: What’s the one thing you never forget to pack for an SIOR event?
Duclos:It's actually three items…my cards, my SIOR pin (wear it!) and ibuprofen (lots of great, long nights!). SIOR is about a lot of things, but first and foremost it’s about connections. Meeting people! Great people! And that can mean a late night or two…or three! Of course my business cards and my pin say EVERYTHING about WHO I AM!
SIOR: What's the first thing you do when you arrive?
Duclos: My conference prep actually starts before I step on the plane. I review the schedule and the attendee list and make a plan for who I want to meet or reach out to while here. I try to schedule meetings in advance to carve out some time to meet.
SIOR: What advice would you give to a first-time conference attendee?
Duclos: Dive In! Everyone is likely here for the same reason…to meet people! The good news here is the people you meet are also here to help you! It's here that we exchange meaningful discussions and build lasting relationships. It’s ALL about relationships!!! You get what you give. Don’t bury yourself in your room and don’t be afraid to start a conversation or join in and introduce yourself. Even let them know you are new! You’ll be amazed (or maybe you won’t) at how welcoming everyone is!
SIOR: What’s the biggest takeaway from any conference you’ve been to?
Duclos: People want it to happen now. But what you really are doing is investing in yourself — taking the time to learn something new; getting out of your comfort zone; making new connections and expanding your world. If I gave up on my first couple of experiences…I would not be here today and I certainly wouldn’t have close to the success I have had in my career. SIOR is first and foremost about PEOPLE. People who understand the BIG picture and people who are willing to invest in their future. And what’s really different…People who are willing to help YOU! My biggest takeaway from a conference? Invest in your future. Get out of your comfort zone!!
SIOR: What are you most excited for here in Portland? Is there a single session you are really looking forward to?
Duclos: I am so excited and totally honored to be the President of SIOR. So, Portland to me is a very different experience than any other conference. All our educational sessions always give me take-home value. It’s amazing to me how I will get home from these conferences and educational sessions and almost immediately help a client with something I learned at the SIOR conference. SIOR education gives you immediate street-cred with your clients…even here in little ole Hartford CT!
SIOR: Can you tell us three of your best tips for ensuring a successful event?
Duclos: 1. Be yourself. BUT, get out of your comfort zone. 2. Understand you get what you give. This is not an immediate return (although I did do a 580,000 SF lease, 3 years after being an SIOR). Don’t make it more complicated than it is…Go meet people!!! 3. When you meet someone new or catch up with someone, make some notes of some personal or professionally important details that you can follow up with later (I scribble notes on the back of the business cards I receive). Those extra personal touches go a long way in building lasting relationships.
SIOR: What are the biggest questions you expect to be asked at the conference? Or – what are the hottest topics you expect to be discussed at the conference?
Duclos: I expect a lot of chatter around the demise of WeWork (Is this the end of shared workspace?)! Also: What are the biggest challenges to CRE brokerage in today’s world?...E-Commerce! The “R” word! Technology…prop tech…CoStar and data!
And of course I'll be excited to speak with people about where SIOR is headed...don't be afraid to say hello and ask me any questions you'd like!