NEACR Conference Rocked
If New England felt a bit more restless on Thursday, it's because the peacemakers were attending the NE-ACR conference in Tyngsboro, MA.
What interesting programs! A neutral could delve into the meaning of life with David Hoffman of Boston Law Collaborative or understand how divorce might work for gay unions with Gail Packer of the Community Dispute Resolution Center. I joined Diane Levin and Robert Ambrogi in a panel discussion on the virtues of blogging. The whole event was fun and informative.
What has a conference got to do with marketing your services? Everything.
When I first started my mediation practice years ago, I focused almost exclusively on getting other people (read: clients) to know about my services. It just didn't occur to me to market to other mediators.
Now I know that helping my peers understand my business is very important. The large majority of my referrals come from colleagues who know and trust my work. But that trust didn't develop because they read my collateral materials. It developed through conversations at conferences just like this one; through working together on pro bono projects; and through sharing work opportunities with each other.
So if you want your practice to grow, go to conferences. Be active at meetings. Get involved. ACR national just announced a call for proposals for the 2006 conference. Why not submit something, and I'll see you there.
PS What would the perfect bumper sticker for an Ombudsman say? I hear that mediators do it until everyone is satisfied, but what about Ombuds???