Your Serve: Meet and Greet
When it comes to enhancing your business, nothing compares to attending industry conferences.
By Denny Schackter
Being a somewhat “senior” tennis professional, I’ve attended many conferences and conventions designed to help educate those in this industry, particularly teaching pros. During a recent meeting of the USPTA Midwest board of directors, of which I’m a member, a new board member shared his frustrations about attending educational conventions. Nowadays, he said, tennis pros can get anything they need online; there’s no need to go to meetings or conventions.
Many of us disagreed. My experience has always been that pros leave a professional meeting enhanced and energized — you just don’t get that same feeling on a conference call or webinar. They work for me, and I’ve seen them work for many others, too.
Seeing people face to face reminds me of why I love this industry, and this sport. Here are 10 reasons why teaching pros should attend as many educational events as possible — many of which I shared with our young colleague.
- You can learn from anyone and anything. Just keep your eyes and mind open. For instance, maybe the conference check-in procedure was so efficient that you could use elements of it at your facility.
- Rekindle relationships. Meetings are a great way to get back in touch with old friends and former colleagues.
- Network. Seek out those who can assist you — and help out those you can.
- Go to sessions outside of your comfort zone. You need to know about a lot of different parts of this business. Go to presentations where you’ll learn something new.
- Wander around the host facility. Learn things from the venue — the court surface, lighting, locker rooms, programming, etc. — that can enhance your own facility.
- Meet your peers. Colleagues who are at your level can provide insights on what the next career steps are, and how to get there.
- Find solutions. Use the experience of your industry colleagues to come up with solutions for your own challenges and problems.
- Interact with vendors. Manufacturers and service providers can provide great information on products and offer specials and discounts.
- Follow the industry. Gain key insights into the tennis industry. Where is it going, and what might be coming that could affect you and your business? Find out.
- Get — and give — new ideas. Group settings are all about exchanging ideas — programs that energize your club, new lesson styles, new marketing techniques, more efficient business practices, and so on. Come home with a ton of new ideas for your business.
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