Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting the Most Out of Seminars and Conferences

Following up on our post-conference blogging from the last few days, I was left feeling incomplete. If you're anything like me you usually have reams and reams of printed and written notes, as well as lots and lots of valuable information spinning around in your mind but no strategy or system to implement what you've learned. This happened to me, so I decided to find a way in which I could most benefit from the learning experience and also transform what I had learned into practice. Consequently, I sat down and created a checklist for converting all this information into an action plan. 

I've since gone through the process, and discovered that it gave me great clarity. I thought the checklist may be useful to our Black Mermaid™ readers so here 'tis as my gift to you. Allow approximately one to two hours for every day spent at the event. It may sound onerous, but it will be worth it in the end because the act of revisiting and categorising the material will commit it to your short term and long term memory and snap you into action. This checklist has been designed for somebody like me who is visual (I use lots of colour and like to read) but can be customised to take into account people's various internal processing modalities (eg. record the tips on a CD).


Post-Event Checklist

1. Promotional Material
(a) Sort through promotional material and  identify which products/services are relevant to your business, and rank them according to the following criteria: 1=Very Important; 2=Useful; 3=Unimportant
(b) Join relevant email lists and/or check out any relevant websites according to importance classification
(c) File/discard relevant material according to importance classification.

2. Business Cards
(a) Sort through business cards and write on the back which conference/seminar you attended where you met this person, and any other specific identifying information (eg. sat next to him; wore alligator skin shoes)
(b) Rank each business card according to the criteria of whether their product/service aligns with yours and whether they are: 1=Currently relevant; 2=Potentially relevant; 3=Not relevant. File/discard business cards according to your relevance classifications.
(c) Email all the people with whom you networked to acknowledge meeting and connecting with them
(d) Join relevant email lists and/or check out any relevant websites.

3. Testimonials
If you had a positive experience at the event and gained value from it, then email a written, audio-taped or video-taped testimonial to the producer and relevant presenter/s.

4. Conference Notes
(a) Read all material and highlight the following information in relevant colours:
– Big and small ideas congruent with your business (Yellow)
– Marketing and sales tips (Pink)
– Speaking and presentation tips (Green)
– Website addresses relevant for your business (Orange)
(b) Integrate any relevant ideas into your marketing and business plan/s
(c) Create computer documents with the headings listed in (a) and add the relevant tips into their respective documents.

5. Action
(a) Break the business ideas down into steps
(b) Begin testing/trialing/implementing each idea by working step by step through the system.

6. Go Make Money and Be Successful  

And most importantly ... have fun!

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