With hundreds of high quality sessions and record breaking attendance, this year’s ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) conference was a success. With four days of back to back sessions plus the social outings it is hard to retain everything you learned and remember everyone you met. After being out of the office for that long all of the inspiration and insight can quickly be lost once getting back in to the routine of your day to day tasks. The question becomes how do you retain what you learned and keep the conversations going with the new friends you have made?
Here are my top three suggestions post-conference to make the conference last more than the week you were in Las Vegas:
Keeping the Fire Alive
While at the conference I become so emerged into the new technologies, insightful case studies, and the innovative ideas I feel like I could come back to the office and change the world. What really happens, unfortunately, is I come back Monday overwhelmed trying to get through the 100s of emails and making sure my projects are still on track. To keep the innovation and passion post conference I will take the following Friday and block off time to go through my conference notes. I know if I try and do this earlier in the week my heart won’t be in it as I am really thinking about all of the day to day stuff I need to get done.
With my coffee in hand, I go through and create a list of the things that really stuck out to me. The list should be no more than 20 items. These are the items you want to build into your plan or goals. Then start to add them one by one to your routine or into your plan for the year. Monthly, review the list and add additional items as you are able to check others off. This makes the list accomplishable and showcases that the conference really did have an impact on the business. This also helps to justify your attendance the next year as you were able to take what you learned and integrate it into your work.
The content and education doesn’t stop just because the conference ends. Attend your local ILTA Post-Conference Recap event and share your inspirations and insights with attendees and non-attendees from your area. This also helps to spark things you might have already forgotten. To keep up with current discussions and education post conference, schedule time once a week to read review conference materials, read the blogs, and check out the news feeds.
A Friendship Doesn’t End Just Because You Go Homes
With the sheer number of attendees and my outgoing nature, I tend to meet a lot of people at a tradeshow. During a show I will write notes about the person on the business card themselves. These are both business and personal items such as “struggles with analytical reporting” to “wants me to come out to NYC for their birthday.” After the show I will go back through my cards prioritizing them. I do this based on the business, the projects I am working on, and the personal connections that were made.
After prioritizing the cards I select 10 people from a show to write a handwritten card to. You would be amazed at the impact a handwritten card v. email can have. Then based on the prioritization, I will block off an hour once a week until all cards have been entered to complete the following as appropriate:
- I input the contact information and notes into my Contacts. I enter what we talked about and something personal to help me better remember the person. I have also created segmentation in my Contacts and will sort them accordingly. For me this is things like service providers, mentors/industry leaders, leads, etc.
- Connect. I will connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, and depending on level of friendship and trust Facebook.
- Lastly, I will create a calendar reminder three months out with a list of the top contacts to check-in with. It could be something personal or a simple hello but keeping that point of contact throughout the year helps to maintain the relationship and build a better connection.
This year’s conference was a huge success and it was great to meet so many new people, I can’t wait for next year in Nashville! In the meantime if you have other ideas on how to keep the conference alive or best practices you use please feel free to share them, we look forward to hearing from you!