(n.) the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others
I recently attended a conference called FPA NexGen The Gathering.
Typical of most national conferences, individuals (approx. 110) traveled in from across the country (approx. 25 states represented) to further their knowledge in the conference subject of choice.
A few things that made this particular conference different though:
- The attendees were all under the age of 37 which is required to belong to the FPA (Financial Planning Association) NexGen Community
- Instead of having hundreds of attendees in a passive role of listening to a few speakers, FPA NexGen had 110 attendees and 110 speakers.
- We sat in a circle as a large group and then broke out in smaller circles to better communicate and engage each other.
There wasn’t really defined speakers though, as the conference was much more conversational instead of passively listening to one person present. That’s why instead of speakers I consider all 110 of these attendees to be influencers which makes sense given the “Lead Today” theme of the conference.
As a financial planner I often gather influence from books, podcasts, national publications, other members of my firm, but sometimes finding influencers amongst our peers is what resonates the most.
We as peers actually got to choose the topics we wanted to discuss during our breakout sessions. With 24 sessions and 5 time slots we had to choose which session we wanted to attend. Here are some examples of the sessions we had:
- Technology & Tools
- Advancing Our Knowledge
- Client Experience
- Portfolio & Investment Management
- Behavioral Finance
- Financial Life Planning
- Volunteer Opportunities/Making an Impact
- Study Groups
During these sessions we got a chance to discuss areas in which we were succeeding in, but also areas where we had a lot of room for improvement, and then learn from others in the group who were already succeeding in that area.
Along with these small group sessions, we also got plenty of one-on-one time where we could really dive deep into what other financial planners and firms are doing that may be on similar paths as us. Getting input from these outside sources was really beneficial as new ideas began to flow from listening to the input from others.
Whether it was in the scheduled breakout sessions, conversing over a plate of Texas Brisket, or at the Minor League baseball game we attended, I was able to take away numerous ideas that I may be able to incorporate into our firm to better enhance the client experience as well as the overall efficiency of the firm. I was also able to gain relationships with individuals that I plan to continue for years to come so that we can influence each other as our financial planning careers move forward. In the meantime, we will keep “Leading Today”