I have two questions for you: After conferences, how do you bring back the energy, connections, and projects to life? Do you follow through? At some point, we’ve all been through the “not following-through” formula. We have all met brilliant folks, gathered great insights but then when it comes to ACTION, what happens? It’s all gone to the drain.
Everyone talks about pre-conferences, and then post-conference experiences, and insights (almost immediately after they’ve attended one). Of course, it is for obvious reasons: the knowledge is fresh in people’s minds, we recall faces and people better, and we aim to market ourselves well, to literally put ourselves out there, right? But no onw talks about what do we do with all the knowledge and contacts. How do we effectively channelize information? Indeed, ATD ICE, May 2017 was a blast for me! It was a mix of fun learning, engagement, meeting friends, making friends (
Indeed, ATD-ICE May, 2017, was a blast for me! It was a mix of fun learning, engagement, meeting friends, making friends (I wouldn’t want to use the term “networking” 😉) and of course doing business. This year, instead of writing ‘what I did each day,’ I decided to FOLLOW THROUGH, the new concepts I’d learned, check-in with people I met, complete the projects I received.
I was planning to write a post almost immediately after the conference, however, things didn’t quite turn out the way I’d imagined. I came back to the sad and disheartening news of my mother-in-law’s demise. I immediately rushed to Mumbai. I was heartbroken, I dearly loved her like my own mom. The impermanence of life hit me hard. It took me a while to get back to work. However, while I was at it, I decided that this year, instead of writing ‘what I did each day,‘ I am going check-in if I FOLLOWED THROUGH.
What I mean by the above is this: we need to translate what we’ve gathered in these mega-conferences to our daily lives and our work. No matter which field we belong to, it is important to do so. So, here are the three P’s, a strategy of mine that helps me follow through my goals and plans, post conferences and events. Hope they help you too:
At the core of any event, seminar, workshop, or conference, are its people. This is the first segment that I personally and genuinely choose to focus on.
- Connection: I believe in forming genuine connections, which are based on quid pro quo. People can see through connections that don’t add value to them or others, whether emotionally, intellectually or even experientially. All the three elements are needed for any person to thrive, professionally and even personally. So, once you’ve met and engaged with the awesome, like-minded people, genuinely connect with them. Send out emails, tweets or LinkedIn messages to get to know them a little more. Ensure that you share your experiences, which can help them too. These days, it is easier to stay connected with people through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, WhatsApp, and emails (of course). So, leverage those tools and be sure to drop them a sincere note to of staying in touch.
- Conversation: It is not just about sending out one-off emails. To genuinely connect, it is important to converse. Either get them on board with your blogs, or videos, or join the conversations on Slack or LinkedIn groups/posts or even on Twitter. Create groups, if you deem fit. Let people know that you exist and how they can leverage your strengths or perhaps how they can be of help to you. Send out a testimonial to someone, who you think added value to you, or simply follow up to check-in. You networked, laughed, shared ideas alongside your peers in an intensive environment, so it is important to bring that energy post-conference too. If you connect and converse genuinely, you will not only make friends for life but also form, a genuine support group of like minded people.
- List creation: If you don’t already have one, ensure you make a list of people you’ve known at the conference. These days it has become so easy to connect via social tools, which reminds us of birthday and other important events important to those connections. Make sure, you’re on track and contact them to say Hi.
Conferences, training, or events are great spaces for “business or work requests”. But if you don’t follow through persistently, it is of no use.
- Plan: Of course there is planning involved before the conference, but what about the planning after the conference? Everyone goes with an agenda on their minds. For some, it might be primarily business, for some, it is purely personal development, for some just networking. Ultimately, it all translate to how it affects your personal or professional projects. Having a plan and goal is crucial. It is important to be clear on what you want before you say yes to any opportunities, take on any projects or reject those that may not be aligned to your goals/succession plan.
- Propose: Once you’ve established your plan and know what you truly want, it is important to let the prospects know how can you help them and viz-a-viz. Arrange for a follow-up call, schedule meetings, develop plans to propose collaborations. If there are projects in the air, propose solutions that are under your area of expertise. Also, don’t forget to compile all your notes from the session to stay up to date on trends, implement practices and new developments. This will help you string any references when you’re proposing anything.
- Pull it off: Once you have all the details in place, ensure that you’re on track with your project. Sttay committed to what you’ve proposed. This is the time to ACTION it.
You need to action thing and focus on projects. It is important to ensure you plan for any developments for the future.
- Do the work: In today’s digital age, voices need to be heard, so go ahead and produce the content. Do the work. It is important to keep producing content. Showcase your work, practice what you learned to make sure you don’t forget it. Consequently, help others in their ventures too. Roll out the work you’re expected to do and do it to the best of your ability.
- Measure outcomes: Numbers!!! I know, right. It is important. Once you start measuring things, the management becomes easy. Whether you measure things quantitatively, in terms of scales, measuring who, what, when & where. Or, qualitatively, by just adding a few checklists, writing down how things could go, what is the next step, etc. Studies have shown that stories help you retrieve the knowledge better. It helps retain the information more effectively. Take time to think about what you want to achieve and if you’ve done it. This will help you reach out to the right people or action the right steps if there are any perceivable gaps.
Do you have any other strategies to keep yourself energized after conferences? Or tactics that you use to follow through with contacts and work? Please do mention in the comments below.
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