Three points of consensus from the first day of NAA: Dana Carvey rocked the house, everyone is hungry to learn about social media and the tough market conditions are going to continue for a while.
That was the feedback from the Apartment Finder team as it worked the sessions and roamed the floor. Despite the challenging times, there is a tremendous amount of dialogue and exploration going on in the industry.
It’s during times like these that the mission of the National Apartment Association — to provide good education in practical terms to property management companies — is so relevant. The education sessions are always remarkable for the amount of good, specific information that is shared and the strong attendance. Sure, people have agendas to work and businesses to promote, but everyone knows you’ve got to deliver good facts, and with the facts, you can learn a little more.
We asked the Finder team to share what were the most amusing things they saw on the first day, what was the most interesting thing that they learned, and what was the coolest thing that they saw.
Most amusing, hands down, was Dana Carvery’s impromptu seranade to Dean Dolben when he was inducted into the NAA Hall of Fame. That was followed by a coolest/amusing tie: Marcia’s tete-a-tete with Dana Carvey and his Orange assessment.
Here’s Krista Castillo’s take:
Dana Carvey’s impromptu ‘roasting’ of Dean Dolbin & his beautiful wife Lacey was hilarious. He played the guitar, making up lyrics as he went along, singing about 'Sexy Mama Lacey' & ending the sketch with (in one, long breath), something like, 'and-Dean-is-Lacey's-Hot-Apartment-Man-who-just-won-the-Man-of-the-Year-Award-from-the-National-Association-of-Apartments-and-he's-one-Hot-Apartmeeeent-Maaaan.' You had to be there...it was priceless!
And then, coolest happened when Marcia & I were fortunate enough to get to meet (& take a picture with!) Dana Carvey. After the camera flashed, he turned & said, "I love the orange shirts!" I gushed, "Why thank you, Dana!", then turned to the group & said, "did ya'll hear that? Dana Carvey loves Finder Orange!"...and much to our surprise, he responded in his famous Church-lady voice, "I do like orange! It's so...FESTIVE!"
Kevin Telfer was struck by the outlook by experts for the apartment industry:
Most interesting thing I heard was in the apartment outlook seminar. With the slowdown of job losses nationally progressing into job creation in the next couple of years, the economist thought the apartment industry wouldn't fully be out of the recession until 2013. This was a lot slower than I thought it would be.
Michelle Childers was riveted by a session on how you can exceed your performance expectations by doing just 1.2% more of something every day. Goal setting is a way to lower expectations, the presenter said; you have to just focus on increasing performance and the goals will grow every day.
She was also surprised by an exercise she was made the subject of to show how we can't always trust our perception. The presenter put a photo of a plane in field up on the screen, and asked Michelle how high the wing was from the ground. "It has to be about 8 feet," she said, basing her estimate on her own height and her experience of small planes.
The presenter showed a second shot: this one was pulled back from the plane and showed four men standing around it. It was a model plane in a field! "You can't trust your perception," the presenter said. You have to observe, measure and always be aware of the context you are operating in.
Everyone saw the energy around learning about social media.
Kevin observed that a lot of the marketing seminars are buzzing about social media. Most people don't exactly know how it will help but they're curious to learn. Patty Blum took the observation a step further, saying that "every NAA member, including vendors, is hungry for a simplified answer to incorporate social networking into their business model."
Social media had a practical impact during the day as well. Says Krista:
With social media platforms like Twittering & texting, we hear news--both good and bad--almost the moment it happens. Sadly, we learned about Michael Jackson's death while we were at the booth... In year's past, we probably wouldn't have known about such news until well after the show.
We'll have more from Day Two later. In the meatime, follow the #naaeduconf stream: it's active and interesting.