With the fiscal year ending soon, it marks the start of a new conference season. This conference season offers the opportunity to (hopefully) have more in-person conferences than previous years.
Value of Conferences
I have always been a firm believer in the value of professional development. Marketing changes. And it changes quickly. Professional development offers marketing professionals the chance to stay current in their work, learn about new strategies, and develop tactics to overcome challenges.
However, for me, the bigger value of conferences is the relationships. It’s about gaining a colleague you can call when you’re unsure, confused, or need advice. I consider the relationships built from attending a conference another tool in the tool box (just like sessions are tools) that can help me be successful.
Getting the Most from Conferences
This is a strategy a colleague taught me, and I have modified it some to match how I work and think about conferences. I hope it helps you as well.
Things to Implement Now
Things to Add in 60 Days
Big Idea for the Year
2 Things to Implement Now
What are the two things that you learn that you can take back at the end of the conference and plug in right away. These should be easy things you can do and things that require little buy-in, but these are things that can make a quick win (and justify the value of the conference to your leadership).
2 Things to Add in 60 Days
What are two things that you learn that within two months can be implemented. These should be things that require some light planning, things that may need an approval, or things that need to happen at a certain time. Overall, these are not significant lifts but cumulatively, they can have a big impact.
1 Big Idea for the Year
This is the hardest section for me. I come away from conferences with lots of big ideas. Big ideas take time. They take buy-in. They take collaboration. Instead of coming back with all the big ideas and then getting frustrated I can’t achieve them, I try to focus on one big idea. Just one. Yes, just one. And put all my energy into it. If I get it done, I can always tackle another.
Why It Works
I have found after attending and speaking at conferences for years that this method helps me from becoming overwhelmed. And it helps me to focus my energies on the aspects of the conference that will have the biggest impact for me. Then, by showing impact, I am able to articulate the conference was valuable and hopefully that makes a case for my continued attendance.