If your schedule looks anything like mine, workshops, trainings, and live events are coming in full swing - in numbers too great to count! It’s exciting and can be overwhelming! When you do choose an event to attend, I want to help you to receive, share, network, and above all leverage your time.
These are the kinds of questions my clients bring to me regularly when attending, speaking, and sponsoring at conferences and workshops:
How do you take what you learn and apply it so you get results?
What’s the best way to share your new knowledge with your team?
How do you avoid the #1 energy killer: competition?
Practically speaking, how do you process the deluge of information, names, and ideas you’re exposed to?
How do you decide which sessions/keynotes to attend ... and not become overwhelmed?
My suggestion is to hit all your questions with this three step strategy. It will save you time, energy, and make the overall experience more enjoyable for you and more impactful for your team. The key to every step is preplanning.
STEP 1: VISION AND PRIORITIZE BEFORE THE CONFERENCE
As soon as you decide to attend a conference, schedule time before AND after the event to vision and connect the dots.
When you vision before the conference, get clear about what you and your team want to get out of the experience. What are the results you want to see? Who do you want to meet? How do you want to define and measure success?
Explore the conference program and choose one or two key events each day. This is very important, and it’s the first place people get overwhelmed. More than 1 or 2 big commitments will throw off your whole game.
Want to stay focused and relaxed? Keep it simple. You’ll then be able to network and enjoy the spontaneous opportunities that arise - which is the primary value of live events.
Let me repeat: DO NOT schedule yourself with back to back sessions - you'll be overwhelmed and end up bringing back too much information for you or your team to benefit from.
Many conferences are so full of workshops and people that it's easy to get overwhelmed just by being there. Set yourself up for success by deciding in advance which sessions to prioritize, what people you really want to meet, and what insights you want to bring back to your team.
Special note: Remember who you are: no better nor less than anyone else. One of the biggest distractions at live events is comparing yourself with others. This will activate your competitive streak, trigger your insecurity, and completely take you out of the present moment. Remember who you are and why you’re there - and nothing can take you down!
STEP 2: FOCUS ON YOUR VISION AND TAKE QUICK ACTION DURING THE CONFERENCE
During the live event, keep your goals and objectives top of mind. I recommend writing them down on the top of each page you take notes on so you’re continuously reminding yourself why you’re there.
I also like to create digital “containers” for myself that help me collect the juicy nuggets I’m mostly likely to benefit from. At the latest event I went to, I created a section in my notes for quotes, inspirations, and concrete action steps--and it made it SO easy for me to implement my takeaways. Keep your objectives top of mind in each session and take notes with implementation and sharing with your team in mind.
When you go into the event with your own personalized and focused objectives, you'll be more relaxed and efficient! You'll also be more fun to meet (for those people you're there to connect with) and you'll actually remember the information you learn.
At the end of each session or each day, review your notes and add in your additional reflections and thoughts about how your team can implement the new ideas or strategies. Turn your next steps into scheduled tasks, send updates to your team, reconnect to your overarching vision, and clear your mind to receive new information the next day.
STEP 3: DEBRIEF AFTER THE CONFERENCE
In step 1, you already scheduled this time into your calendars. Keep it! I guarantee this time will feel important but not urgent. Don't let anything interrupt it or you'll waste the whole conference. This step is KEY!
When you debrief, review your original objectives and objectively evaluate how fully you’ve met those goals. If you have a team, present your notes and reflections to them, and make time for questions.
This final step is where the real value of the conference happens: commitment to implementation and action steps - and schedule a follow up to check in - with yourself or your team as appropriate - on how the material is being integrated.
There's nothing more inspiring, powerful, and revolutionary for your business or team than an incredible conference. With the right planning and structure, you can turnkey the most powerful learnings and truly change your whole experience of your business and work. Good luck!