What to do after your trip to convention…
So it’s Monday afternoon and hopefully everyone who attended the NACDA & Affiliates convention last week has recovered, caught up on sleep and spent quality time with your loved ones that you missed.
Before I left for Orlando I shared a post on how to effectively prepare for convention. While I was there countless people approached Katie and me to tell us how much it helped. Good! That was the point and I am glad I was able to help a little.
Now that you are back at your desk, what do you do? I have a shoulder bag filled with business cards, notes, receipts (lol), empty granola bars and handouts that I collected throughout the week.
Here’s some advice I’d like to share that hopefully will help you feel less overwhelmed and more organized now that you are back to normalcy.
1. Follow up with the people you have met.
Hopefully you took my pre-convention advice and exchanged info with the people you met. If not, this might be a challenging task to write down and remember all those people you’ve crossed paths with while in Orlando. For me, it helps to make three lists. I start with the obvious: the cards that I collected. Then I move on to people who I spent a good amount of time with sharing ideas, sitting in panels with or socializing with. Next, I make a list of the people who I spent time talking to and would like to keep in touch with.
From those three lists I make a “card” or “e-mail” list. I think the handwritten note is invaluable; I just finished writing my notes this year and I think I’ve mailed out over 45 handwritten notes to people I met or spent time with while in Orlando. The rest of the list will be receiving emails from me throughout the next few days, if they haven’t already.
My advice for this part is to make each card or e-mail personalized. Mention something you discussed with the person you are writing to. It helps so you aren’t having senior year flashbacks to writing in yearbooks “good times, have a great summer, good luck in college” over and over. It also helps the recipient remember you more and your impression will last longer.
2. Organize your notes.
I used good ‘ole hand written notes in a notepad and Microsoft Note this week so my notes were all over the place. Thank goodness I labeled each page with the name of the panel and the presenter’s names. So what I did today when I got back to my office was combine my notes. New Media/Digital Media onto one document, professional development onto another, marketing/communications crossover to another. You get the point. This way when I am looking back on some new app that Katie spoke about in her panel Apps for Efficiency, it’s not lost amongst my professional development notes.
3. Present your findings.
Everyone comes back from convention with all these great new ideas that they would like to bring to their job. How many of us actually act and implement these ideas? Put together a small PowerPoint presentation for your staff or superiors to show them what you’ve learned and what you would like to implement. Also, CoSIDA will be posting presentations online this week (www.cosida.com), so if you don’t want to recreate the wheel, you can just download them and share with your coworkers.
4. Make a mental note.
No matter how much you to try to prepare, you will look back and think, “man I over-packed” or “I wish I wasn’t so hungry in the morning.” This wasn’t as much of an issue for me this year because I packed so lightly and remembered some protein bars and a whole canister of shakes so the mornings weren’t a struggle for me. But for those of you who didn’t plan the little things out, maybe a mental note will help you prepare for next year.
5. Maintain your relationships.
This is kind of a part II to No. 1 but you should maintain the relationships you developed over the course of the convention. For me, that’s how some of my closes friendships in the business have developed. Now I’m not saying you need to talk every day until next June, by all means there’s probably only 2-3 people in this business that could deal with me on a daily basis, but keep in touch.
Former CoSIDA President Judy Wilson talked about how she has a goal to every Wednesday reach out to someone new in the business. I love this idea and I think I am going to piggyback on it for the upcoming year. My goal every Wednesday will be to check-in with one or two people that I crossed paths with at convention this year.
As I say all the time, I don’t have all the answers so if there is anything important you think I have missed, please feel free to reach out to us.
I hope everyone is refocused and excited for another year in college athletics. Make sure you take some time for yourself away from the office this summer. Fall kickoff will be here before you know it.