Have you ever attended a conference only to find you implemented nothing, kept in contact with no one, and have really gotten nowhere? Here are three ways to make sure that the “worst case scenario” doesn’t happen to you! I want you to get “THE most” out of your event experiences.
- Implement something!
- Get in contact with someone!
- Go somewhere!
This is one of the longer blog posts I have written. If you don’t have time to read it right now: click now, enter your email address and first name, then this blog post will be emailed to your inbox as a PDF for you to read later at your convenience.
In order to implement something, you must take notes in a strategic way. Organize your notes by “next steps.” Here are the distinct sets of notes that I just created – in order to get the most out of my conference experience.
- Immediate Action Steps
- Later Action Steps
- Links to examples of things I like
- List of people that I met (broken down by day)
- Prospective client follow-up
- Content notes (broken down by session)
- Questions I have (and want to get answered by the end of the conference)
*Please know that organizing your notes like this as you go requires additional thoughtfulness, self-awareness, and real-time decision-making. It saves you incredible time and gets your progress going more quickly, but it does require you to add another level of thinking to your conference event experience. Be prepared to work and to think.
Get in contact with someone!
After each day of the conference, take an immediate action in following up with the people you have met. Make it personal to signal to the individual that you remember something about him/her.
- Email note
- Facebook friend request
- LinkedIn connection
Consider making your follow-up substantive, too. Options include:
- Sharing a photo that the person is in
- Offering your notes from a session
- Sending a link to a relevant resource
- Connecting the person with a prospective client
- Giving positive feedback
If you want to build a real relationship, it will require real interaction (offline and online). The immediacy helps you and the other person better remember each other and the real face-to-face interaction.
In order to go somewhere, I’m going to need you to sit still! You just participated in an accelerated learning experience, dealt with a new environment all day, and met all kinds of people. And you mean to tell me that you think that you can just leave the conference, go back home, restart life as usual, and somehow you are going to implement something and get somewhere?!?
If you want to be able to say that you have gotten somewhere (as opposed to going nowhere), then consider my new favorite event experience: the hangover day! Stay in the conference city one full additional day. And:
- Give yourself time to re-boot: sleep, exercise, hydrate, and eat well.
- Give yourself time to re-group: review your notes and tweak them so that they are organized in a way that sets you up for success
- Give yourself time to re-call: make phone calls to the loved ones that you miss so much.
- Give yourself time to re-tool: take a step back and make sure your system for organizing yourself works for your new reality (calendar, project management, lists, folders, etc.).
- Give yourself time to re-connect: implement second or third follow-up to new contacts and prospective clients
Wow! You have now ensured that you are getting “THE most” out of your conference event experience. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you’ve gotten what you paid for and really pushed yourself forward in progress?