By: Jada Willis
We have all been there! We have attended a seminar in our field, one that completely energized you and reignited your passion. We have all experienced the post-conference high, a euphoria that restores your confidence. You are a mover and a shaker! You managed to step away from the mundane day to day and received edge of your seat information for your field. A flood of creative thoughts and new ideas flood your mind. You feverishly take notes, spend time with like-minded people, and vow to implement all of your new found material immediately. You just know this is the turning point for you and your career. The witty and charming speakers encouraged you to dream, laugh, and follow your path. During the conference you feel lighter, energetic, and optimist about the future. The lunch table is filled with your peers that understand your daily plights and actually get your jokes. You are on top of the world!
Suddenly, the conference comes to an end. You return home, unlock the door, and are immediately hit in the face with the piles of laundry on the floor and the dishes in the sink. After you spend the weekend catching up on anything and everything you missed, you start looking at an inevitable to-do list that continues to grow longer. Your schedule is packed and your days are back to back! Just then you remember the moments of complete focus you just experienced, all the notes you took, and the sea of good intentions. Like I said, we have all experienced that post-conference high! I don’t have the secret for staying in a constant headspace of creativity, but, I do know a few tricks that will keep you motivated and on the right track. Just like that magical conference intended…
1) Within 48 hours of leaving the Conference, review your notes and make a realistic to-do list, and timeline.
Set aside an hour to review your notes, the handouts from the speakers, and any material you received. Start making a list of the most applicable pieces of information. You will want to assign a due date to each activity or take it a step further, look at your schedule and decide what day this activity will be complete. This could be before the expected due date. If it was a great conference and you received a lot of information, then you can even break into a plan to complete within 0-30 days, 30 days – 6 months, and 6 months – a year. Short and long term planning is helpful as long as you are taking action and following up. Post it somewhere you can see on a regular basis. This exercise will refresh your enthusiasm and give you a structured action plan for next steps.
2) Turn business cards into “Business Buddies,” follow up with whom those you spoke within 2-3 days after the conference.
Whether you received 2 business cards or 20, if you were able to speak and connect with others at the conference then don’t let the conversation end there. The only way to even intermittently feel connected to that feeling of creativity is to stay connected with your industry colleagues. You can follow up through email, LinkedIn, or even a hand-written note. Hopefully, during the conference you made a note to personalize your interaction. (i.e. Bob in Accounting from Colorado that shares a love of traveling and skiing). Now, you need to personalize the contact you make with those that you met or hardly get to see at the conference. Foster that relationship and continue to build your network.
3) Share the conference love!
The best way to make that feeling of creative freedom and focus last longer is to share your knowledge with others. Try to share significant information and relevant tools during relevant team meetings. If you have a supervisor, ensure they are aware of how your attendance at the conference will benefit your work performance, the department, or the company. Share your notes with your colleagues that were unable to attend the conference. The goal is to continue making the relevant pieces of the conference a part of your daily routine. As you talk about the knowledge acquired, you will be more likely to stay accountable to your post-conference to-do list.
4) Identify and join similar organizations locally.
The easiest way to ignite this feeling and stay current on industry trends is to find a local group that has meetings with the topics that most inspired you. If you attended a Nursing Conference or a Graphic Designer getaway, then search for a professional organization, independent meet-up group, or social organization that has a focus in your specialty. Joining a group will improve your network, help you with learning new skills, and stay connected to your plan.
5) Contribute to post-conference social media groups or create your own!
Let’s say you just attended a conference for Interior Designers, if there isn’t a group established through Facebook or other social media platforms after the Conference, then create your own. You can start with inviting the contacts that you know who attended and they can invite their contacts. If it is a professional organization, then you can also opt to volunteer your time or expertise. Again, this will continue your excitement and focus.
Here’s a final tip, if you really enjoyed your conference that much, then take time to write a review and shout it out via social media.
Don’t worry. You can have it all! Incorporate the moments of both connectivity and creativity into your usual daily routine. It takes an effort on your part, but if you implement these 5 tips, you can maintain that post-conference high! Good luck and go forth!