By: Nicole Slaughter Graham
About 2.5 years ago, Billie Parrott attended YPN Advance in Chicago and came home buzzing. The two-day, invite-only conference hosted by NAR in Chicago is designed to foster essential conversations and She’d learned so much and made so many connections, and she felt like the two-day event just wasn’t long enough.
“People wanted to talk more, but there’s only a limited amount of time at Advance,” said Parrott, the Montana YPN State Chair and broker at Meridian Real Estate in Billings, Mont.
YPN Advance provided the perfect jumping-off place, where meaningful and dynamic conversations started. Parrott wanted to ensure they continued, so she started the YPN Lounge LIVE (not affiliated with NAR’s YPN Lounge) on Clubhouse. The weekly meeting has since morphed into a Zoom meeting streamed live on Facebook.
YPN Lounge LIVE aims to provide education, getting granular on a real estate-related topic or a YPN-specific topic (like how to maximize your membership). The hour-long meetings, accessible to anyone in YPN, cover everything from using stats in an agent’s business to goal setting to social media tips and how to use ChatGPT.
“No topic is really off limits unless it violates antitrust or ethics,” Parrott says. “It’s all about providing YPNers and real estate professionals with the information they need to be successful in their business.”
The weekly meeting is moderated by Billie, Mandy Cook, the current Billings YPN Chair, Brandi McArthur, YPN Billings Vice Chair and Kevin Purcelli, Executive of YPN for the Miami Association of Realtors in Miami, Fla. Each week features a guest speaker well-versed in the topic at hand. Previous YPN Lounge meeting topics and speakers include:
- Relationship Selling – presented by Barb Betts, broker-owner of The RECollective in Long Beach, Calif.
- Work-Life Balance – presented by NAR YPN Advisory Board member Stacy Smiter
- Using ChatGPT to Save Time – presented by Jeremias Jman Maneiro, national trainer with Douglas Elliman
- Benefits of Association and Community Involvement – presented by NAR YPN Advisory Board Chair, Jairo Rodriguez.
- Protect Yourself from Online Hackers – presented by Burton Kelso, TEDx speaker and Chief Tech Expert at Integral
Want to recreate this kind of event in your YPN? Here’s a breakdown of the specifics:
The purpose of this event:
Education and collaboration. The format provides the time and space to focus on a granular topic to help YPN members in their businesses and networks. Topics range from the specifics of running a real estate business to marketing and association/YPN involvement to personal investment. The format also lends to collaboration and idea-sharing, allowing participants to network and learn from each other and the speaker.
In-person or virtual:
This event is held virtually, offering the opportunity for YPN members and real estate pros from around the country to tune in.
This recurring meeting runs weekly, on Wednesdays or Thursdays at 9 a.m. MST, depending on the speaker’s availability. Having a set day and time each week makes a virtual, recurring event easier to attend since people can plan for it on a weekly basis.
Participants can expect the presentation to run an hour.
How to get the word out:
Consistent marketing through multiple channels. Parrott creates promo graphics and circulates them each Monday through social media channels, including Instagram and Facebook. The promo also includes the speaker and topic and login information for Zoom and Clubhouse.
Parrott has three co-moderators who help facilitate the meetings. She creates the graphics for marketing and posts to various channels to generate buzz.
Cost of the event:
This kind of educational event is entirely run off volunteer time.
While live attendance can run low sometimes, Parrott says each session sees about 150-200 views once the playbacks are sent out.
Parrott says that week after week, YPN members learn how to improve their businesses, enhance their YPNs, build their networks and work together to realize a successful and profitable real estate profession. The online format makes the information needed to get a successful YPN up and running or to enhance business practices accessible to a wide range of YPN members. Even if a YPN member can’t attend a conference or training, they can log on and access the information they need through the Billings YPN Lounge offering.
Flexibility is KEY, Parrott says. Initially, the event was held on Clubhouse only, when Clubhouse was a really popular platform for communication and connection. As Zoom dominated online meetings and the world returned to a sense of normal, the YPN Lounge LIVE evolved to meet people where they are, contributing to its success and longevity.
Nicole Slaughter Graham is a consulting editor at REALTOR® Magazine and the manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at email@example.com.