Whether you’ve just returned from conference, or you’re attending in the next few weeks – I want to give you some tips to get the very most from your conference experience.
In my early days in the business, I headed to conference with NO pre-planning. There I was, spending several hundred dollars on my registration fee, my airline ticket, my hotel and meals, and my parking at the airport.
But here was an even bigger “investment” on my part. My TIME.
So I had to ask myself: “What am I going to do to get the best return on both my financial investment, and on my time?”
Here’s tips on how to get the most from your National Conference.
I used to be extremely disorganized. (Sometime I’ll share with you the time one of my very best friends, Wanda, who has worked as a “professional organizer” tried to help me out by organizing my office…!!) I had piles of papers everywhere and my office looked like a small tornado had swept through the place.
The thing was – I KNEW what was in each pile – and could usually put my hands on an important document within a couple minutes. But all that chaos wasn’t helping me build my business.
Plus – as I eventually learned from the perspective of “money flow” – it wasn’t an environment conducive to attracting the big bucks.
That’s when I learned a trick from another successful Manager in my company, and I proudly became a “three-ring-binder” queen.
(Now I’m not just a three-ring-binder queen” – I’m also a “filing box queen” – but I’ll cover that another day…)
At my conference I was hosting events for my unit, sometimes attending events for off-spring units, often speaking at a breakout session or on-stage, and might have scheduled special meetings with other managers to take advantage of the opportunity to meet in person.
So I organized everything into one three ring binder that I put in my carry-on bag (in case my luggage got lost).
So your first assignment is to get a three ring binder! (I labeled mine “National Conference” and just kept re-using it.)
The binder should have dividers, and get a packet of lined paper that you can use for taking notes.
Next, to get the most from this event, you need to do some “before conference” thinking, some “during conference” strategies, and some “after conference” follow-up.
I want you to be strategic in how you approach your conference.
What’s the most important things for you to learn? Who would you most like to meet?
Which of your team members are attending? Can you meet with each team member or future leader one-on-one for a short session?
Plan these things out, and make appointments with these people prior to conference!!
I also recommend that you write out notecards to leave with the front desk at the hotel (to confirm your appointment) and make sure you have their cell number programmed into your phone so you can text a confirmation, or connect with them if you’re having trouble finding them in your designated meeting location.
I also created a “conference packing list” that remained in my binder!
Everything from gifts to notecards to training handouts to a second copy of my presentation (you never know what happens to them at your company). I went through that checklist as I was packing.
I wrote out a schedule and checklist for each day of conference. That included choosing any special breakout sessions or meetings I was invited to. I reviewed it each morning – and of course, kept my 3-ring binder with me in my briefcase for frequent review.
At the Conference
First – one of my dividers in my binder was labeled “follow-up.” If I made a commitment to mail something to a consultant – I added it to that list. If I wanted to send a note or card to a speaker who did a great job – I wrote it on that list.
By the time I got home, I had one complete list of items to do as a follow-up to the event.
You know that you’ll hear of TON of great ideas at your conference. I kept great notes…but the thing that helped me the most was the page I kept at the very front of my notebook: ACTION LIST.
So often consultants get all excited by the different talks – and you’ll hear a ton of great ideas and inspirational stories – but where they fall down is in IMPLEMENTING WHAT THEY LEARN.
Once I started creating my ACTION LIST, it really helped me to focus.
After the Conference
Conferences are an absolute blast, but they can also be a bit exhausting.
I recommend that you go home and let things “rest” for a day or two. Your head will be swirling with ideas, so keep a piece of paper handy to write those down.
Schedule a time a couple days AFTER your conference to go through all of your notes, review your action list, and choose how you’re going to implement what you learn.
When you approach your conference in this manner, you’ll get a huge return on your investment and it will impact your business significantly in the months to come.
Got Tips to Share?
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