27 2012

How To Avoid Convention Letdown

In any industry, conferences serve as vital opportunities to network and get educated. But, on the heels of a recent convention, to debut HOLD, we realized that three days soaking up the latest innovations and information is inspiring and at times overwhelming.

“We see it all the time at our own events,” says Gary. “People come, get all fired up and want to implement everything they learn. Then three months later, nothing.”

Every year, companies spend massive budgets to put on and send employees to industry conventions, and attendees spend large blocks of time away from their families and businesses to do so. Unfortunately, the common take away is often what we call “convention letdown”—lots of ideas, little execution.

So how can you avoid letdown and get the most out of your next conference?

Follow these four action items: have a purpose, be an active listener, implement an action plan and start a the top.

Four Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference

1. Have a Purpose. Before you attend any conference, decide on your area of focus. What’s the ONE Thing you want to take away from that event—finding and recruiting talent, increasing margins, the latest marketing strategies, etc.? Review the week’s agenda, and plot out your roadmap to learn as much as you can to achieve your goals there and back at the office.

2. Be an Active Listener. Turn off your technology—cell phones and Internet—and take notes by hand in every session you attend. At the end of each day, review and highlight your notes. Finally, list out your favorite ahas and takeaways from that day. Put a star by anything you absolutely want to bring back to your work.

3. Build a Master List. On the plane ride home or when you get back to the office, combine your lists and then prioritize them. The problem isn’t that you came home with 29 ideas to implement—it’s that you don’t know where to start. When your master list is numbered from first to last, you’re prepped for success.

4. Start at the Top. Each week thereafter, make it a priority to knock out the most important item on your master list. If you can accomplish more than one, great. But make one your goal. Change can be challenging so don’t take on too much at once. Focus on getting one win at a time and you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up.

There’s no reason to ever feel let down after an inspiring event. You simply have to take action. Try to tackle too much and you risk being overwhelmed and never get out of the gate. Taking just a little time to prioritize the things you want to accomplish will give you clarity on where you should begin, which by the way is at the top. Chances are, if you accomplish your top priority but never make it to number two, you’d still consider that conference a success.