How many times have you come from a Summit filled with new ideas and things to try only to let them fall to the wayside upon your return to “real life”? How can you turn these ideas into reality? Whether you’re attending a CoreNet Global Summit or another conference, here are four smart, savvy tips to make your experience a success.
1. Take The Path Less Traveled
Summit attendees tend to stick together in packs. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of attending all the same sessions with your friends, sitting on the bus with those you know and only going to receptions or networking sessions with people you’ve already met.
Break away from the pack. Take the path less traveled by your friends. Expand your horizons. Seek out attendees sitting alone in hotel restaurants, on the bus or in sessions. That way you’ll meet new people and build new connections.
2. Take A Break From The Information Shower
Many people feel like they need to attend as many sessions as possible, to learn as much as possible, to get the highest return on their registration dollar. How much of that information is retained and actually applied to the job?
Information at a Summit can be like a shower that is never turned off. You can stand under the shower and shrivel up, trying to scribble as many notes as possible with a waterproof marker. Or you can step away from the shower, dry off and take breaks from the constant information flow. Take some time to reflect on the new content and write some notes on how to apply those learnings when you return to the office.
3. Share The Wealth
Can you quickly recall the top five takeaways you had from the last conference you attended? Doubtful.
So how do you ensure that you retain information from the Summit? By sharing the wealth.
Write it down. Type it. Tweet it. Repeat it. Post it on Facebook and LinkedIn. Discuss it. Do as many things with the new content as soon as you learn it so you can recall it.
Immediately following the presentation, recap your thoughts with others. If there’s a networking or discussion group following the presentation, join it and discuss your findings. When you return to your office, take time to share your new learnings with coworkers. Many sessions are recorded for rebroadcasting later. Gather a group for a “lunch and learn,” re-watch the content and discuss. You may learn even more the second time around. In short, talk about it, often and frequently before you leave the Summit!
The more you can repeat your new learnings and share your takeaways, the more likely you’ll retain the information and apply it to your job. Repetition is key to memory retention.
4. Be A Canteen
Canteens have a limited amount of space to carry an important life source, drinking water. Users must constantly refill them as they can’t force an entire year of drinking water into them.
While at the Summit, don’t try to force an entire year of education and networking into a two or three day span. When speakers provide content that resonates with you, write down their website or blog. When you meet industry influencers or smart thinkers, collect their social network profiles. Then visit their sites frequently, refilling your canteen with their fresh content all year long. That’s ensuring that your Summit registration has a high ROI.
About Jeff Hurt
Jeff Hurt joined Velvet Chainsaw Consulting in January 2010 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement. In 2012, he was recognized as the PCMA 2011 Educator of the Year. Jeff has worked in leadership roles with five associations, five government organizations and several companies in the education, events and meetings departments, including Meetings Professionals International and Promotional Products Association International, one of the top 50 shows in the industry.