If you’ve ever had a conference hangover, you know how hard it can be to reenter the real world and not be exhausted and overwhelmed. Between the physical recovery, digesting all the valuable information, and following up on conversations, simply put, it can be a lot. Then stack all of this on top of your everyday life obligations, and it’s hard to truly reap the benefits of the event. To ensure you get the most out of networking and professional development events, create a post-event plan
Here are three simple ideas to get you started:
Traveling, getting up early/staying up late, walking around, engaging in conversations, and generally exerting energy can drain you. Know your limits and set aside time following the event to recover physically. This may mean taking the next day off of work or simply keeping your calendar clear of obligations.
Do a Debrief
Within a few days of the event, while everything is still fresh, go over your notes. Review big ideas and resources, then create a game plan to implement your favorites. Capture to-dos on your task list and set due dates. This is also a great time to go through all the takeaways from the conferences, such as gift bags and digital downloads, and look up any referenced materials, such as a good book recommendation. Also, how did you do on the goals? Check-in and see.
Tip: Schedule the debrief on your calendar immediately after you buy your ticket to ensure the time is set aside.
You made all those great connections – don’t let them go stale! Connect on social media and send emails to connect. Schedule coffee dates or video chats to follow up on conversations or simply continue connecting.
Tip: It’s likely the people you’re reaching out to also made a number of connections, so give context about how you met, what you talked about/how you connected, and what you’d like to gain from the relationship.
And finally, if you’re into sharing your experience on social media, the perfect time to write that post-event social or blog post about your key takeaways is within a few days of the event.
Whatever your goals for a networking event, setting aside time and energy to properly process your time and learning will ensure you make the most of it.