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Getting the Most Out of Your Conference Experience Once You Get Home

Feb 27 2017

by Ashley Schoenith

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Teresa Earnest for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Teresa Earnest for The Southern C

If you’re like me and you were lucky enough to attend this year’s Southern C Summit, you are still coming off of that high of being with a whole room full of smart + creative people for a few days.

As an entrepreneur, there is no greater investment in my time or money than to step outside of my day-to-day business and be surrounded by new ideas, industry trends, and people who are all trying to conquer the world just like me. I always take a little time before Summit to really dive into my business goals for the year, my strategy and other high-level initiatives so I can come into the Conference with a very mission-level look at where I’m going, and leave with a hyper-focused tactical plan to keep on executing.

It’s easy to say “that was great” and keep on plugging in to your day-to-day work, but I wanted to share a few suggestions for you on several action items you should be doing immediately following Summit or any other conference you may be attending ….

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Grey Owl Social for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C

1. Digest your Notes

I’m a list maker in every sense of the word. It helps keep me focused and on track – both day-to-day, weekly and more top line. List making is also a great way to help you more effectively achieve your goals because it provides you a step-by-step, tactical plan to get there.

So if you took the time to take some notes during your time at Summit, be sure to take a few minutes to go back through them, ideally the week after you return. We tend to jot down things that stand out to us as most important, things we want to implement or remember, so digesting these while the scope of the rest of the conversation is still fresh in your mind is always the most effective way to take it all in.

I also have a little system with my note taking where I put a little symbol next to items that are action-items I need to definitely do when I get back to the office. This helps me to even more quickly break down into next steps of importance.

 

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Grey Owl Social for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C

2. Follow Up with Contacts

Now is the time, when it’s fresh in your mind and everyone mind that attended, to follow up. It doesn’t have to be extensive, just a quick email hello, a LinkedIn request or a follow on Instagram to take your “real-life” connection a little further. We are lucky because this usually happens the other way around these days when we only have cyber connections.

If you met an editor, send them a relevant pitch and be sure to reference the fact that you met them at The Southern C. If you met a fellow creative or entrepreneur, a quick note or follow to let them know you’re supporting their business and enjoyed meeting them goes a long way. I have collaborated with several people after meeting them at a Summit, so planting this seed now and being a part of their Instagram feed will help keep you top of mind when something does come up in the future. I am so excited about all of the connections I made this year, and have a laundry list of things already in the works (can’t wait to share!)

 

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Grey Owl Social for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C

3. Take Aways

Be sure to make use of the “take aways” from the Summit, like any presenter notes or presentations, videos or even recap blog posts that The Southern C and other attendees and presenters will be sharing on their own sites.

I took a few “screenshot” photos on my iPhone of some presenter slides that were wordy that had good information, so I was sure to chronicle those in my written notes as well to not forget them. Also, take some time to dig through the #tscsummit hashtag to see what you might have missed or connect with some of the folks who have been using it. Even the daily schedule from the Summit is a must-keep when you’re trying to remember the spelling of that certain editor or presenter that you want to follow up with.

 

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Grey Owl Social for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C

4. Be Creative

Take a look at all the people you met at Summit and recall all of the things you learned. Carve out a few hours to be creative with this knowledge and brainstorm a few killer ideas for your business.

We heard a lot of common threads at the Summit this year – storytelling, video, being true to your authentic brand, influencer marketing, implementing a tactical plan – how do these things apply to your business? Where are you lacking? What strengths do you already have going for you that you can take to new levels?

Think about all the people you met. Who could you do a really cool collaboration with? How could you or your business be more involved at Summit next year? Be bold and be creative. Strike while the iron is hot and really push yourself to think outside of the box. Besides, you did take the time and money to be there for a reason so make the most of it.

 

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Grey Owl Social for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C

5. Share your Experience

When you do something great, sometimes you just want to shout it from the roof tops. Summit is no exception. Think about other creatives or business owners you know that might benefit from the Summit experience and invite them to connect to this great community.You might just have a few more familiar faces joining you for the conference next year.

If it makes sense to do so, share a little blog post or Instastory recap of your Summit experience to share it with your own network. I had several people tell me “my entire Instagram feed was on Sea Island that week” and it gave me some reassurance that people were taking notice of this coveted little community that is The Southern C.

 

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience" by Ashley Schoenith (photo: Kelli Boyd for the Southern C Summit)
photo: Kelli Boyd Photography for The Southern C

6. Look Back, Look Ahead

This one is strange advice to some but take a second to reflect on all you got out of your experience. Or, if you didn’t make it this year, take a moment to really think about what you may have missed out on. To me there are few conferences or experiences I can take part in for my lifestyle business that so appropriately hit on topics that are relevant or people I should meet. I saw several people at Summit that I had been wanting to meet in person for awhile, and a few I didn’t even know were going to be there.

It’s easy to look back while it’s fresh in your mind and jot down all the things you got out of attending. For me, it was certainly worth it and has been every single year I’ve attended (I think this was my 3rd or 4th Summit). Doing this now gives you a nice little page to look back on when those early bird tickets become available for next year. Instead of dragging your feet and wondering if you can really carve out the time or budget to make it work, you’ll be able to confidentially book your ticket ahead of time and plan to be inspired all over again.

 

Love to know what else you’re doing after Summit to make the most of your experience!

 

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Ashley Schoenith View More Blog Posts from this Author

Ashley Schoenith is the founder + lifestyle designer at heirloomed (formerly IceMilk Aprons). A collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy," with a mission of keeping the heirloom around for another generation.

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One response on “Getting the Most Out of Your Conference Experience Once You Get Home

  1. Cheri Leavy

    Incredible advice! I can’t wait to go back through and watch the sessions videos and take notes again and prioritize action plan. (emailing video link this weekend to attendees).

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