Attending a multiday association conference (or other event) can be inspirational and chalked full of education.
There is a lot of industry information. Some of the best networking around. Tons of good food. Beneficial investment of time and fun, fun, fun!!!
It can also be exhausting. The long days followed by the happy-hours and other parties can leave anyone feeling the pain once they get home.
Plus, being out of the office all week can leave you with a full e-mail inbox and a to-do list a mile long.
Yet, to maximize the ROI from attending the event, there are a few things you should do as soon as you get home.
Yes, I know - your family and co-workers have immediate expectations of your attention. However, if you put off your post-event wrap up, you may never gain all the benefits that were possible from attending the event in the first place.
Post Event Wrap Up - Eight Things To Do After The Conference
1. Unpack your suitcase. Leaving your clothes, toilteries and other convention materials sitting on the floor for several days will only add stress ("Ahhh, I still have to unpack"). Unpacking gives you a chance to process some of your thoughts about the experience and create some closure.
2. Sort through your business cards (or electronic contact information). Some of the people you met at the event could become amazing long-term contacts, but not all those you encountered are equal. Assess the purpose of keeping in touch with each person and review the level of conversation you had while at the event. Some people may not require a follow-up, while others could become part of an amazing friendship. If you do not sort through the pile of contacts you most likely not reach out to anyone at all. This would be opportunity lost.
3. Follow up with three people. Yes, I know, you met so dozens of interesting people ... but start with three. Who had the biggest impact on your conference experience? Write a note, send an email, or call them and tell them you enjoyed your conversation (s). I do not care how busy you are, or your level of self-importance ... you CAN follow up with three people. (NOTE: a handwritten note still stands out from the crowd in our social media crazy world).
4. Follow up with more people. Three is a good start, but go a bit further. If you skip this step, at least you contacted a three of your key contacts. Ten would be best, but I don't want to freak you out. ;-)
5. Review your notes. Meetings industry guru Jeff Hurt reminds us that our minds are not recording devices. Sitting in a lecture and listening is not the best way to establish a memory of the information. Without review you will forget most of what you heard.
6. Share what your learned. Transcribe your notes (this will help you retain the information, too), and share them with your co-workers or other peers who were not at the meeting. When you share your notes it will reminds those in your office that you were at the conference for business purposes, not just to hang out in a nice hotel and go to parties. Plus, some small tidbit you wrote down may be the big inspiration someone else needed to read.
7. Reach out to the organizers and sponsors. Putting on a conference is hard work, but few attendees really think about the amount of effort that goes into the execution of a multiday event. Take the time to contact the organization that hosted the gathering and those that sponsored the key portions of the agenda, and thank them creating a positive experience.
8. Plan for next year. If the event was worth our investment of time and money, be sure to get next year's dates into your calendar.
Have A Great Day.