Carol Duncan, SMACNA President
I wanted to start my first SMACNews column with a question: What was your biggest takeaway from October's Annual Convention? SMACNA broke attendance records for a non-Hawaii convention, and it was wonderful to engage with so many fellow SMACNA contractors. SMACNA put on a great event and offered so many great learning opportunities to attendees from every part of the industry. After a convention wraps up, I always feel like I recharge my batteries. I am ready to dig into the business again with renewed energy.
By attending SMACNA's Annual Convention, you have invested your time and money gathering great information. So, the question becomes: How can we ensure that not only you but everyone who participated in the event can successfully leverage the incredible knowledge learned during the event? Since I started attending conventions, I have collected a file cabinet full of printouts from presentations, or, more recently, a file folder on my computer.
A best practice that I like to employ when I return from an educational opportunity, such as an annual convention, is LLCI — four critical questions that help me digest the information I gathered:
- What did you Like?
- What did you Learn?
- What Changes are you planning to make?
- What is the Impact you expect?
Asking these questions turns some of that fire you felt at the event back on, and it might even help that information stick longer.
Please consider engaging with those who attended educational sessions and ask the LLCI questions. Often, a facilitator will ask us what actions we will take away from a presentation: What will you stop doing, what will you start doing and what will you continue doing? In a smaller venue, it is great to have an accountability partner — someone who can help you articulate your learning objectives. Your accountability partner can call you in six weeks to make sure you have done something with the information. Focusing on this level of engagement can go a long way in ensuring you are able to extract maximum value from attending a convention.
Finally, as part of BE4ALL, SMACNA and SMART are working to bring some holiday joy to families across the country, while also spreading awareness about a career in the trades. For the second straight year, BE4ALL has created a label to place on toys for local toy drives. The label's QR code takes them to a landing page with links to industry career opportunities. This helps bring joy to a family, but also shares with them the doors an industry career can open.