In the last 2 weeks I have been to 4 different conferences. I love being a part of something greater than myself. I wrote the following post for one of the conferences I attended, The Orange Conference. I hope you enjoy it and leave some feedback if you have any.
Orange Conference 2015 is over. Hopefully, you either attended, watched the Live Stream or saw a massive amount of social media posts from the event. You are inspired, full of new ideas, challenged, and ready to impact your community. Great! Now what?
How do you make the most out of OC15, or any conference you attend?
- Don’t let the every day overtake what you learned and what you hope to now accomplish. Here are seven action items that will help answer the question, “Now what?”
- Go to Twitter and search for the hashtag, #OC15. Perform an “audit” by favoriting or copying/pasting posts that inspired you the most. If you weren’t online during the conference, go back through your notes and highlight the best ones.
- Schedule a meeting with your staff and key volunteers as soon as possible to debrief. Ask those on your team who attended the conference to bring their notes to the meeting. Though probably not everyone on your team attended the conference, or followed along online, the ideas of the conference still will be beneficial to your leadership team.
- From that debrief meeting, combine all of the notes and findings from your team. Post the best takeaways online (on a blog, for example) and/or put the information together in an email. Once gathered, send out this email or links to the blog posts to those who could not come to the meeting, or to all volunteers and possibly to parents (if the information is applicable).
- Write a thank-you note to your favorite speaker or person you met who you learned from the most. Don’t have their address? Ask for it. Go to Facebook or LinkedIn and reach out to them. Building relationships with those that you respect is always a good thing.
- Pick one idea as a leader and one idea as a team that you will complete this month. More than likely, you have a whole list of things that you want to improve, change or tweak. Don’t change everything at once. Instead, pick one and build on it.
Download one new app that you heard about at the conference and use it for three days. If you don’t like that app, that’s okay. I am sure you have a list of 15 others that you wrote down. If you did like it, share with your team why you loved it. People will thank you for giving them one app idea. Don’t share all 15 at once.
- Each week, schedule 30 minutes to do what you said you would do at the conference. For example, perhaps you said you would call someone back or have coffee with someone local whom you met. Then schedule it! If you put it on your schedule, then it is much more likely to happen.
Notice that all seven action items are one-inch steps, not 20-mile runs. Next year at OC16, you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come by taking it inch by inch. Your other option is to go to OC16 and say, “I said last year that I was going to do that and never got around to it.” You can do it; just make a little plan. And I hope these seven items help you accomplish more than you expect.