When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. That’s how many people, companies, and organizations, like the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), are responding to these uncertain times.

Unable to host its standard Spring Tech Summit in New Orleans, the team at RESO came out early with a pivot to create a digital summit version – April 21-23. That’s welcoming news, as many folks will tell you RESO is the best-kept secret among all real estate conferences.

True, there won’t be a #RESOnola, but I am ready #RESOremote. I need a conference – badly.  So, I have blocked my calendar OOO, even though I am still homebound and attending digitally from the Seattle area (safer for everyone).

Drinking the lemonade

RESO conferences might be my favorite gatherings for two principle reasons.

First, at every RESO confab, highly skilled experts present content about what’s coming next in real estate often a couple of years before the new tech hits the mainstream. Second, because RESO conferences are limited to about 300 attendees, you can meet face-to-face with some of the brightest minds in the industry.

RESO Remote logoThe good news is the first reason remains true. RESO, headed by Sam DeBord, has a stellar agenda planned as you can see here. And although the second reason isn’t entirely possible this time, I do understand that there is a virtual reception scheduled at the end of the day, and the speaker list gives us a peek at some of those bright minds that will be there, at least virtually.

Sure, the receptions will be BYOB, but the three-day summit is only $99, so I’m in — and I’ll grab a can of White Claw.

If you were already registered for the RESO Tech Summit in New Orleans, you can attend the RESO Remote and get a credit for the difference towards your next RESO conference.

To join RESO Remote Digital Tech Summit or to learn more, go here. The best news is we don’t have to worry about the hotel selling out, as it does for every other RESO conference!

The virtual trend

The other big virtual conference I am looking forward to is the just-announced Inman Connect Now, June 2-4. I have to admit I was sad that for the first time, there Inman Connect Nowwould be no Inman Connect conference this July. (I am not sorry I won’t have to swelter this summer in Vegas.)

Kudos to Brad Inman and his team for how they announced the change so far in advance. I admire how they adeptly handled committing to a digital conference and all the accompanying options for ticket holders and rescheduling. As a registered attendee for Connect Las Vegas, I felt very well taken care of and look forward to New York and next summer events.

But right now, I am excited about how these virtual events like RESO Remote and Inman Connect Now can try something new to fill a void I believe many of us are feeling during this time. I miss attending conventions: seeing what’s next, learning something new, grabbing some new content to post, catching up with folks, and enjoying that shared experience. I’m enthusiastic about this concept, even if I can only check a couple of these boxes during a remote conference.

An unintended consequence

The other reason I see these efforts as a positive is a pretty big unintended consequence that I believe has long-term benefits. We have experienced how well video can work.

From chats to webinars, nearly everyone seems to have learned how to Zoom.

It doesn’t matter if we shaved or put on makeup or fixed our hair. We are all working from home, and we are giving each other a pass. People who said they would never do video because they didn’t like how they looked on camera have gotten over it.

Plus, we all learned the technology. We’ve adopted and adapted. Getting a Zoom chat or meeting going is something nearly anyone can do. Even my adorable 80-year-old, often-tech-challenged in-laws joined a family Zoom call last week!

Video streaming has solved a huge pain point for all of us in real estate and business in general. I would argue that a plain old telephone call in the future just won’t cut it. And I think that change could turn out to be a very good thing.

Value of video

I have been a video evangelist nearly my entire life. During my senior year of high school, I started my school’s first video club. This dates me, but we used a reel-to-reel black and white Sony system with a camera the size of a small microwave.

Fast-forward to the late 90s. Real estate columnist (and now author) Tom Kelly and I did the first Inman Videos – almost six years before YouTube was born; I love video.


The reason video works: for now, it is the closest we can come to face-to-face communication. Face-to-face communication studies show that 80 to 90 percent of the impact of a message comes from nonverbal elements.

I can’t understate the value of nonverbal communication — facial expressions, eye contact, body language, and tone of voice. It is why video is working as well as it is today.

We know a phone call is better than a text or email, which from experience the last two can be easily misinterpreted. We have the option to do one better – we can Zoom/Skype/Facetime/Hangout.

Because we get more nonverbal cues with video, it is a lot more useful than the alternatives. While it can’t replace face-to-face communication, we are getting better at using video to communicate.

So, tune into RESO Remote, Inman Connect Now, and the other virtual conferences that I am sure will be announced as events continue to be rescheduled. We can still benefit from a “shared experience” that comes from attending a confab in person.

So, pass the lemonade. I just need someone to develop a virtual handshake. See you there – digitally.