How To Walk Away With The BEST TIPS & IDEAS After A Conference

in Organizing
How To Walk Away With The BEST TIPS & IDEAS After A Conference

I have been sitting on some awesome information for awhile and thought it might help you when attending a conference. This is for those of us who still like using pen & paper for some things. While there is nothing wrong with entering notes into your computer or tablet, I have found that writing notes by hand has some advantages. Firstly, I write less stuff. Since the majority of people who take notes at a conference rarely if ever, look back at those notes, it is probably better to just listen mindfully versus trying to scribble down or type in everything the speaker says. Since I am a speaker – I can attest to the fact that I prefer an audience looking at me and listening versus trying to jot down every word I say.

That being said, I have a system that I have used at conferences over and over again and it has worked great.

Firstly:

Have a goal in mind. Why are you attending the conference? What do you hope to get out of it? Do you want some fresh business management ideas, or marketing concepts? Do you want to learn what is cutting edge research in your field? Or, maybe you want to learn a new skill of some sort. Perhaps you want to meet people or learn about ideas that might benefit your clients. Whatever your reasons, have some notion as to why you are investing your time and money attending a conference in the first place so you can be sure to get a return on your investment.

I feel that learning as much as you can at a conference is a wonderful use of one’s time and resources – and it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway ---networking is an important aspect of conferences too. Otherwise, you could just buy the DVD set after the conference and listen to the speakers that way!

That being said, I have felt that writing down only those items which I believe I have some chance of implementing, is a better way to go. I found that after a conference, there are very few tips or notes that really resonate with me and that I actually use.

So, this is my A-B-C process of Effective Note-taking:

A. Determine the main categories of speaking presentations you will be attending, such as; Marketing, Management, Leadership, Client Care, etc. If you are attending a dental conference then you may have categories such as New Tools, New Materials, Staff Management, etc. You can probably get a pretty good idea of what categories the conference will offer beforehand by reviewing the agenda.

B. Next use a standard-sized legal notepad. Divide up your notepad into section as shown in the photo – fold 1-2 sheets together and stagger them so that the ‘section’ (first page or two) is folded about half way up, the next section about 1” down from that, the next section 1” down from that and so on until you have enough ‘sections’ for each category you plan to hear. Then write the category heading on the folded edge (see photo). Be sure that the folded pages tuck behind so they act as tabs.

C. This is a very important step: When you are listening to a speaker, instead of writing notes on each speaker, put the tip or idea in the CATEGORY it falls into. You can easily jump to the section in your notepad as the pages are easily ‘tabbed’ for quick access. Why does this work better? Because that is how you will USE the information!

Later on, you will have far greater success finding the note in the category versus by the name of the speaker. For example, if you are listening to a speaker and she gives you an idea for managing your staff better you can jot it down under “Management” and when she talks about client services, you can jot it down under “Client Care” and so on. That way when you go back over your notes, you can see ALL the tips and ideas for Management in one place and can much more readily implement some of the ideas. This way your notes will have greater value, are more easily accessible, and you can look at all the tips on a category at once and determine which to implement. The person who you heard the information may be less important at that point. If you want to be sure you know who said what then put their initials next to the note so you can reference it later using the conference agenda.

This works great! Try it at your next conference!

P.S. SUPER TIP: My best success occurred when I put a star next to the idea I wanted to implement first and SCHEDULED it into my calendar immediately – actually before leaving the conference. That got things moving really fast! Try it!







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You take my abstract problems and come back with concrete solutions
Andy M.