As an association or chamber professional, you likely plan a lot of events (or assist your members in their events). But hopefully you’re able to attend a few events of your own for professional development purposes.
If you do attend conferences during the year, do you feel like you’re getting your time and money’s worth? What do you do with all that information once you get home? To fully maximize your conference experience, take a look at these four post-event best practices:
1. Type up your notes
If the conference you attended was educational in nature, you likely spent a LOT of time taking notes. Don’t let that information get lost! Shortly after coming home, take some time to type up your notes and save them in a place you’ll be able to easily access later.
Tip: Don’t forget to check Twitter! Did you tweet any key takeaways or “ah-ha” moments during your educational sessions? Did you “like” any major insights from other Twitter users/attendees? If so, be sure to include those in your recap notes. Tweets can be just as valuable as handwritten comments.
2. Meet with your team/discuss key takeaways
Were you the only person from your team who was able to attend the conference? If so, that’s an amazing opportunity you had! But now, it’s time to share that wealth of information with others. Get together with your team and go over what you learned/key takeaways. See what they think of your notes and if they have any thoughts or ideas to add. Brainstorming is where the magic happens!
3. Prioritize your action items
Consider this an extension of your team discussion. As you’re talking with your team, figure out which items and to-dos you’d like to execute first. (Think short-term versus long-term goals.) What are your biggest needs? What problems are you trying to solve? Identify those, then plan your next steps accordingly.
4. Connect with other attendees on social media
In addition to taking a lot of notes, you probably did a lot of networking as well. Don’t let those connections fall by the wayside. As soon as possible, try connecting with some of the people you met at the conference on social media. A good rule of thumb is to follow up with people within 72 hours of attending an event.
And note: When connecting with people on LinkedIn, don’t just send them a standard “Let’s connect” message. Personalize it based on the conversation you had.
Below is an example of a simple yet effective LinkedIn message:
I really enjoyed meeting you at [Conference XYZ]! I’m the Executive Director at [Association ABC], and I really enjoyed hearing about your organization’s new fundraising initiatives. I’d love to stay in touch and chat about those initiatives again sometime.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
All the best,
By personalizing your message, not only will that help the recipient better remember who you are, but that shows you genuinely care about building a long-term, professional relationship. (And that’ll really set you apart from others!)
Just as planning a conference takes effort, so does attending a conference. (Albeit, conference planning takes much MORE effort.) But still, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of that experience. For more tips on what to do leading up to a conference and while you’re there, check out our free Conference Survival Guide below!