You’re back from a week away from the office having attended a conference. Now you are busy catching up on everything you missed at the office. Don’t forget, though, to do your post-conference homework. Much happens at a conference, but much more can happen following a conference. Below are five homework assignments –
File business cards. I always connect with people I meet on conferences on LinkedIn. I also save their business cards, grouping all of the ones from a specific conference together with a sticky note. Sometimes I just can’t remember a person’s name, but I can remember where I met him. Then I simply grab my business cards from the conference and sort through them until I find the correct one.
Send thank yous. These can be an email, a tweet or a more formal note. If a speaker was particularly good, I always like to let her know how much I enjoyed the presentation. If specific hotel staff did an outstanding job, I let management know. If the conference met or exceeded my expectations, I send a short note of thanks to the organizers.
Read the books and articles. Most likely during the conference, speakers or attendees referenced books and articles. Ideally, you took note of them. Now it’s time to read them, or, at the least, skim them. I always return from conferences with at least two or three books I would like peruse. It often takes me six months to get to them, but I eventually do, and I’m always glad to have done so.
Review your action list. Conferences provide me with space, time and learning. The result is that I inevitably come up with several assignments I need to complete when I return to the office. Some turn out to be full-scale projects. Others are more about my personal development such as taking a class in editing videos on my phone. Whatever is on your action list now is the time to review it and mark the items on your calendar so you actually do them.
Share your learning. If what you learned at the conference is relevant to your colleagues, share it with them. You can do this in the form of a briefing memo or email. Better yet, schedule a lunch and learn where you can provide an update on what you learned, and they can ask questions or add to what you have learned.