Getting the most from your conference experience
Going to conferences is a great experience, right? You get away from the office, usually get to visit a cool city, meet up with old friends and get exposed to some new ideas – from the keynote speeches, the vendors, the break-out sessions, and peers. You start the week with the best intentions about all the new things you are going to implement as soon as you get home. Then, you get back to the office and life at work takes over. The day-to-day routine resumes and everything you learned at the conference never makes it out of the bag you picked up at the registration desk on day one.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve used a simple system to help me get the most out of my conference experiences. It’s not revolutionary or complicated but if you use it, I guarantee you’ll find it was a worthwhile use of your time.
Here’s my 5-Step System to get the most from your conference
- Print and Bring along the Conference Worksheet.
Take a two-page worksheet with you (you can download it here) throughout the conference and every time you are exposed to something interesting that you want to revisit later, jot it down.
- Notes Review
On the plane ride home, look through your notes and the business cards you collected. If there’s anything else you found worth more time once you get home or people you want to reconnect with – pull out that Conference Worksheet and jot it down.
- Whittle if Down
If you’re like me, you’ll have two full pages of great ideas – way too many to handle. There will be too many ideas and people to connect with – if you tried to do it all, you’d be overwhelmed for sure. This part can be difficult. Ask yourself, “What are the top two or three things that if I make happen, they will have the biggest positive impact on my business?” Write these most important ideas on the Conference Action Plan (download here).
- Action Plan
Now that you have two or three things you’d like to accomplish, it’s time to come up with a plan to get you started. On the Action Plan document, you’ll see a place for the action item name and completion date goal. The form has an example – Implement a CRM/Production Management tool by 9/1/19. When you write your action steps, keep them specific, simply stated and measurable. If you make them really clear, you’ll be less likely to let yourself off the hook.
- Making it Happen
All the steps are important, but this is where the rubber meets the road. What can you do to make sure you stick with your plan? Here are some ideas that work for me and my clients
- Make a couple of copies of the plan and leave them where you’ll see them every day (desk at work, dresser at home, someplace in your car.
- Share your plan with a friend – for best results, make it someone in the industry. Ask them to check on you with a call, text or email occasionally. Have them ask you specific questions about how your plan is progressing.
- Set up a recurring appointment with yourself to review your plan. I like Friday afternoons. My routine for years has been to review my play at the end of the week and then make notes about what I want to accomplish in the next week to move the plan along. It’s a great way to close the week and feel like you’re already prepared for the following week.
- Hire a business coach (self-serving plug). https://thegrowthleague.com Having a business coach experienced in the restoration industry can be very valuable in a variety of ways. Please get in touch if you’d like to learn how I help clients.
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