I just returned from the iMedia Brand Summit. It was my third time attending an iMedia event. The first two events were great, but this one left me with more energy and electricity than I’ve ever felt from a conference.
If you’ve ever been in my shoes, you’ve had good intentions of returning from a conference to make massive change in your organization or department, and then ride off into the sunset after a job well done. I have fallen guilty to this more than one time.
On the plane ride home, I made a list of action items to do within one week of being back in the office. By doing these things, my hope is that the energy I had leaving the conference can be sustained longer than before and that I can contribute back to my organization because of it.
Connect with conference attendees on LinkedIn
One of the best parts about conferences is the people you meet. But don’t let the conversation stop after you’ve gone your separate ways. I’m sending LinkedIn invitation requests to all of the people I had a conversation with during the conference (if I didn’t do so during the conference). For each person who accepts, I’m following up with a personalized message. In the age of massive Twitter feeds and an always-on mentality, people like to be remembered and recognized.
Follow up with vendors via email
I met with over 20 different vendors during this past iMedia Summit, each for about 10 minutes. While it’s not feasible (or practical) to strike business deals with every one of them right now, there are a few with whom I’d like to speak further. Instead of waiting for them to follow up, I’m reaching via email with outstanding questions I have about their product or service and how I’d like to proceed. That lets me own the conversation.
Follow up on promises made
There were many people who offered to do something for me during the conference, whether that was making a connection with someone in their network, providing a case study, or taking a follow-up phone call. I did the same for people and I’m taking those seriously. The people on the other end might not use what I provide, but I know they’ll appreciate me following through and would surely recognize if I didn’t follow up with them. After all, business is nothing if not for the relationships you build with people.Business is nothing if not for the relationships you build with people. Click To Tweet
Schedule a meeting with department leadership
Going to conferences wouldn’t be much good if you couldn’t put any of your newfound knowledge to good use for your organization. I’m putting together talking points, action items, and recommendations to share with my boss, agency partners, and people in other departments on how different technology could help us achieve business goals, new marketing ideas we could explore, and new ways of thinking about current projects in the pipeline. Even though everything might not be used, it’s still good to get it out on the table for everyone to see.
Make a plan for the next six months
Some of the concepts discussed at the conference are easily implementable today. Some, however, will take more time. I’m putting together a plan that outlines how I will help my organization grow over the next six months and how we could use new techniques, ways of thinking, or technology along the way. Even if everything on the plan isn’t achieved, at least there’s a plan in place that can help guide my work for the future.
It takes a little extra time to tie up the loose ends from the conference or to educate people on what I learned, but in the end, it will help me—and my organization—move forward.