How often have you returned with some helpful nuggets from a conference, excited by what you have learned and the people you have met? You have the best intentions to summarize what you have learned and follow up with the people you met on the conversations you had.
But then reality hits you. You have been away from home and your office for several days. You put off work you usually would have done during that time. You push off your good intentions by one day, then two, then three. A week goes by, then two. Your memory of some of the most helpful nuggets you picked up at the conference has faded by that time. And the contacts you formed? You were too busy to follow up.
What to do?
- How can you ensure getting the most out of conferences and keep what you have learned long-term?
- How can you foster those new relationships and grow your network?
- In other words: How can you put the experience in which you invested your time and money into MOTION?
The key is this: Within 24 hours of the conference, ideally, on your way home, write down the critical information and schedule your follow-up actions.
- Scan through your notes for all sessions you attended.
- If you didn’t take notes, look at the conference program and write down the most valuable nuggets you remember.
- If you took notes during the conference, straight into a searchable database like Notion, bravo!
- Did you get any book recommendations? Write them down.
- I often take photos of slides presenters show. Check your phone’s gallery.
- You might consider taking photos of the program and anything you want to remember.
- The idea is to gather all the notes and insights you gathered. Put them where you can find them again. (Notion?!)
What about connections you made?
- Look at your phone and check which text messages or emails you exchanged.
- Look at the business cards you received. Enter them in your CRM and your phone.
- Which follow-up actions do you want to take?
The Key Takeaways
- Make your notes searchable and meaningful to your future self. I love doing that with the Notion app I have written about before.
- Schedule your follow-up actions! Use your CRM and calendar. This part is the most time-sensitive!
- Rather than taking a “perfect-or-not-at-all” approach, I invite you to write it down well enough so that your notes will jog your memory at least for a week. Go back to your notes and flesh them out within that week.
- If you cannot even come up with 15-20 minutes to compile your notes, I recommend taking photos of your original notes and putting them into the Notion app. Make sure to add tags that help you find the information. Schedule in your calendar 20 minutes to refine the information as soon as possible – within one week at the latest.
- Create a quick to-do list on actions you want to take to
- Follow up with people,
- Implement what you have learned, and
- Pursue ideas you gained!
- How close is this process to what you are doing currently?
- To what extent are you happy with your current process?
P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this with others. Thank you!