Attending business conferences, special events, lectures, seminars, classes and courses are part of our professional lives.
Events provide great information, professional tips, up to date industry information, inspirational and motivational ideas, and fantastic opportunities to expand your business network.
Unfortunately not all the events are interesting, useful or entertaining. At times it is a waste of time and money.
But the occasional great event is inspirational, we leave the room vibrating with ideas, enthusiasm, motivation and the desire to put the words and concepts to work in our own lives and business organization.
Two days later we forgot about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it, and why it was important.
Then we sign up for another event, and the cycle repeats itself.
How can we take full advantage of the ideas, knowledge and opportunities from business events?
To get the most out of these events a bit of planning and follow through will allow you to maximize this knowledge and it’s impact in your professional and personal life.
Before you go
- Main reason why are you going to attend? Write down your reasons for attending; to gain specific business knowledge, exploration (don’t know what to expect, but it might be good), my boss thinks it might be important, seek inspiration or motivation, networking opportunities.
- Why do you expect to learn, or who do you expect to meet?
- Can you do anything to prepare before you go? Contact people before you go, read works from the author or about the topic, prepare specific questions?
After the event
- Write a brief, one page, executive summary.
- Include the name of the event, place, date.
- What was the conference/event about.
- Note any reference materials given at the event, where are you going to file or save them?
- What did you learn that is applicable to you or your business? This might be a general concept, or specific information, it’s what you want to bring back and implement.
- Who else in the organization should know about the information or is affected by it?
- Who did you meet while there, full contact information, how can they be interesting to your business in the future.
- What follow-up required (thank you notes, contact specific people, more research, share it with others, file it, forget it).
- What should be investigated further, and who should do it.
- What does it take to implement or disseminate the idea or knowledge in your business (resources, people, attitude, commitment).
- Personal comments or observations, what did you feel.
- Retain all these executive summaries in a file titles “Events, Conferences, Seminars, Classes, Lectures” or something similar, organize events by date, subject or month.
- Review your summary in 30 days and note progress or lack of progress. What happened or didn’t happen?
The key to maximizing the impact of a special event in your organization is to take a few moments to reflect upon your objectives before attending and then summarizing your learning, next actions and follow through required after the event.
Simple, focused and effective.
Highly recommended that each attendee from your organization be required or encouraged to keep such a file, and share it with their co-workers or managers.