Saturday, July 25, 2009

What To Do After A Conference

Imagine that you attended an amazing industry conference:

  • You sat through keynote talks and breakout sessions while filling your notebook with countless brilliant ideas that you know will have a material impact on your career.
  • You visited the trade show and encountered vendors who had products and services that inspired your mind for new ways of doing business.
  • You met dozens of people, with whom you "clicked", that are excelling in your field.

So What?

If you do not take action within the first week of returning home, you may never benefit from the opportunities that have come into your life.

To make sure that you seize the power from the experience, you must do four things within the first seven days: Review. Brainstorm. Execute. Follow-up.

1. Review. Take a few hours to go through your notes and review all the nuggets of information you wrote down and prioritize them. You can either re-type your notes, or use a highlighter if you have them on paper. Focus your mind on the points that can have the highest level of impact on your future.

2. Brainstorm. Find a quiet place and think about all the information, ideas, examples and people that you ran across at the conference, seminar, or convention. Imagine how you can take unrelated concepts from what you heard and connect them to your own business. Additionally, think about the people you met and how you can work with them in the future, or whom you can introduce them to where there would be a benefit for connections beyond yourself.

3. Execute. Make a "To-Do List" of the top ten things the you can (and will) do immediately. Now do them.

4. Follow-up. Meeting someone one time does not make them part of your network. Meeting someone once makes them "someone you have met". There is a huge difference between a person you met and a mutually beneficial contact where you both know each other and understand how you can help one another in the future. You need to own the follow-up if you wish to cultivate an ongoing relationship. Emails, handwritten notes, Facebook, Twitter, etc... are all ways to facilitate ongoing contact. I suggest that you take the extra time to send handwritten notes to the few people who really stood out in your mind. (Only once do you need to do this, you can use electronic mediums after that first contact!). This will show that you took the time to go beyond the short-cut filled digital world that we all have come to know and love.... and that they matter to you. (Note: If you did not get their business card, or they only had email contact info on their card, then digital contact is fine!).

Attending industry conferences can be a lot of fun and very educational. They are also a great way to make contact with others in your line of work. But if you do not take action after the event, you will miss the chance to maximize your ROI. You will also forgo making some great life-long friends. All opportunities come from people, and you never know who will be able to make a difference in your future.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Shay Wheat said...

I totally agree with your article. LOVE IT!

I have noticed lately that people, especially in business, are starting to get back to the "personal touch" and are looking for ways appreciate the clients and customers that are helping them keep their business movings forward.

Thank you for helping me get this message out to the world.

Shay Wheat
Sender of Appreciation