I just had the opportunity to be a presenter at a stimulating professional conference that for two days in late July provided its 200 plus participants with loads of great information, new strategies, and thought provoking ideas.  Everyone I spoke with agreed, the conference was a great success.

As I drove home, I started to think about my many takeaways from the event.

Then I got to thinking about what I would often do in the past, returning to the office after an important conference. Though I was excited about the experience, I would put down my bag and attend to pressing issues and play catch-up. There my bag would sit in a corner or next to my desk, often for weeks before I’d pull out my notes and file them away.

Sometimes for good. My bad.

Not this time. Let me ask you a question.

When you return from a conference, where’s your bag?

Here’s what I imagine. You put your bag down and do exactly what I did.

But, compiling your notes and sharing what you learned with your organization is vital to its efforts. And, it’s probably why you went to the conference in the first place.

I’d like to propose a plan that will put learning into action.

  1. Take out your notes. Carve out some quiet time to review the keynotes and workshops you attended. Highlight what’s particularly relevant to your project.
  1. Now, share what you learned with your team. You can call a special meeting to review and discuss the highlights, perhaps over breakfast or lunch. Make it fun.
  1. Send out a conference summary ahead of time and ask your team to highlight and prioritize those learning items they think are really important.
  1. Then, considering their input, develop a simple meeting agenda that keeps you on task and on time for substantive discussion. Don’t try to cover too much in one meeting.
  1. Make sure to include everyone on your team who is important to your project. Err on the side of inclusion.
  1. Many of you are making your project plans over the summer, and you’ll be including new strategies. Keep your notes within quick reach, and refer to them as you create your plans.
  1. As you’re developing your plans, consider what resources your team is going to need. Will your team need further training to strengthen its potential or new infrastructure to support its efforts?
  1. Then proceed positively. You don’t have to take big steps, small steps moving forward will still get you where you want to go!

So, where are your notes?

Pull them out, dust them off and make all the information you learned at your recent conference work for you!