September 27, 2011
How to keep the conference high alive after you get home
I spent this past weekend at the most inspiring writing workshop I've attended in I don't know how long.
[Flickr photo by jemsweb]
No matter how energizing a professional event, though, my usual MO is to slip back into my hectic routine without acting on all the ideas, tips, and connections generated. So here's the plan of attack I'm taking this time around.
By this time next week, I vow to do the following. You have my permission to ask me later if (a) I stuck to it, and (b) it made a difference.
Reread all my notes from the conference. Before too many personal commitments and professional deadlines get in the way, I'll go over all the good stuff I learned so it's less easily forgotten.
Make a to-do list. I refuse to let all those marketing, productivity, and career change tips I collected lay buried inside my inch-thick notebook. Instead, I'll pull them into a nice, neat, one-page cheat sheet where they're easily accessible.
Take action right away. Rather than wait for that mythical "spare time" to appear, I'll start chipping away at the aforementioned to-dos this week. If need be, I'll schedule every last task into my daily calendar.
Annotate the business cards I've collected. In six months, I may not remember that Bev from Bellingham has a homemade piñata collection that I'd like to write about or that Rob from Redmond is buddies with an editor at my dream publication. Better to jot down a quick reminder on the back of their card now while the details are fresh in mind.
Email everyone I want to stay in touch with. You know, before they forget me, too.
Use Skype, a listserv, or a social networking site to stay in touch as a group. The event I attended was an intimate 15-person gathering, with attendees from around the country. To stay connected and bounce ideas off one another, we've convened as a private group via the social networking tool Podio.
Deal with expense receipts. This event was on my own dime, not some employer's. So tonight I'm printing, annotating, and filing away all my expense receipts. Better to do it now than scramble to find them early next year at tax time and risk not getting that much-needed tax deduction.
How about you? What steps do you take upon returning from a professional conference or training program to ensure it was money well spent?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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