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Keeping the Energy Alive Post-Conference – Friday Fix

by | Dec 9, 2011 | Industry News & Trends

We just returned from #Tech11 in DC and I spent the whole plane ride home “unplugged” <gasp> – reviewing my notes and thinking about how we can do things differently, better. I was filled with all the usual post-conference honeymoon thoughts; energized from new points of view and intriguing speakers. So our Friday Fix is dedicated to advice on making the most of post-conference intentions.

1. All I got was this postcard. This gem is from the brilliant Beth Kanter.  I wish I could remember where I read it or when I heard her say it but its simplicity struck me – capture all of your amazing conference takeaways and ideas for action on  postcards and mail them to yourself. That way after the hustle and bustle of the post-conference events have subsided and your inbox volcano has been cleaned up, you can get to the task at hand with those friendly mailed reminders. I know many of us tech-oriented people will want to tell Siri to remind us later or email those action notes but it’s all too easy to minimize a reminder window or X out of it completely. Paper is a little harder to ignore, and if you use really beautiful postcards, you won’t mind the glaring reminder to get it done.

2. I’ll tell you when. Take your postcards, emails, notes and/or reminders you wrote on your hand during the conference and review them all. What takeaways and calls to action can you work on today? What are part of a longer strategy? For short, easily managed takeaways hit them hard now. Tom Morrison, CEO of MTI, said in his session that he likes to break actionable items down to “what will you do on Monday morning?” Assign a date. Make it real. For longer activities, break them into shorter digestible pieces and ask what part of this can I accomplish today or next week. Set reminders for yourself.

3. Just Google it. What most inspired you at your conference or session? Google the topic (or use whatever search engine brings you the most joy) and do a deeper dive. The speaker at your session was great but who else is talking about the same thing? Don’t be afraid to step out of your industry. It’s a big world and there are plenty of people talking about your topic of interest.

4. Own your own follow-up. I mentioned creating reminders for yourself earlier so that your follow-up got assigned a date and became more tangible. Now take that to do list and make it part of a graphical representation. Nonprofits use this method when raising money for a cause – the old donation meter. (We also use this as part of our backend with our syte sensor and LinkedIn uses it to show you the completion percentage of your profile.) There’s something about human nature that drives us to complete a task when we see how much of it is remaining. Doesn’t matter if you draw the steps to goal achievement on your whiteboard and color it in as you go. Just give yourself something to look at.

Those are my thoughts. What else have you done to keep yourself on track when you return from an invigorating conference?


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