I love going to conferences. I love the energy, the excitement, the learning opportunities. You come back feeling invigorated (from a good conference, at least) and ready to put all that learning to work and yet you’re met with uninterested looks from fellow staffers. Does this sound like your experience at your member-based organization? I hope not but if it does here are a few quick tips to getting your coworkers on board:
1. Share. Tell your co-workers of your business-applicable experiences. Sharing does not mean regaling them with stories of all the fine dining and sloppy late nights that you had while you were gone in that fabulous city. Remember they were at home dealing with the mundane. Get them excited about what you learned. Play up the invaluable actionable items collected at the conference and how it can relate to your mission and goals. After all, your conference was work. You were just having too much fun to notice.
2. Use multi-media. Yes, telling them about that wonderful speaker you could’ve listened to for hours is great but not nearly as great as them experiencing it for themselves. Try to get a copy of the presentation or visit YouTube to see if there are other videos from the speaker then your coworkers can experience your excitement without having to fight through throngs of people.
3. Swag, swag, swag (and other souvenirs). Do your best to bring the experience home for them. That can mean packing an extra suitcase just for the ear-marked swag for your fellow staffers or treating them to a regional specialty (just pick one that travels well or have it shipped).
Conference experiences are too valuable to waste. Every conference has three phases. There’s the pre-learning/preparing you do, the actual conference learning and the innovation that occurs from your experience. Don’t let the blank looks from coworkers dull your enthusiastic ideas for your member-centric organization. Bring staffers into your excitement and help them feel like they were there too. They’ll be more apt to support your conference-inspired suggestions.