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What a Great Conference! Now What?! 2019 Edition

I am coming back from a “high” from the Digital Project Management Summit in Orlando, FL.  What a fantastic conference and kudos to the Bureau of Digital team for putting together a great event and always making the list as one of the best project management conferences.

These days as a solopreneur, I am much more discerning about the value of conferences, in terms of costs and the time commitment to attend. While my decision to attend conferences is based on price and my availability, when I do attend a conference, my goal is to make great use of the time and make meaningful connections. I was successful in both aspects at #digitalpmsummit!

But just like you, even though I come home excited about the connections and business cards I collected, I find myself overwhelmed a week later as I look at the business cards collecting dust and trip over the bag full of promotional product swag.

Here are a few tips that I find very valuable post-conference:

  • Dump your swag bag. That’s right, just dump it out. And then decide which trinket stays in your desk drawer, which one of your favorite kids gets a gift for their great grades at school, and which are the ones you give away at work. As a trainer, these promotional goodies are great giveaways during my training sessions, to which my students then give to their favorite kid.

  • Store your swag bag with the rest. The bags they give away these days can double as shopping bags. Sure it’s free marketing for the sponsoring company with their big logos and name for all to see. But I also like to think that my use of the bags is a way to reduce my carbon footprint. Win for all.

  • Did you make great connections? Now connect! Don’t let the opportunity slip. The general rule is to follow-up within 24-48 hours. Email your contact. Follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Make a LinkedIn connection. Or even pick up the phone. Invite your contact to coffee or lunch. My favorite meal option these days is brunch. Hint, hint.

  • Reflect. Your reflection of the conference can be as simple as, “yeah, I’d go again,” to spending 20 minutes or so writing in your journal about the lessons learned from the experience. Did you present your elevator pitch with success or does it need some refinement? Were you a wallflower during the event? Do you need to bring an associate (i.e. “wingman”) to the next event?

  • Submit your continuing education credits.  The time spent in workshops often can be counted towards your maintenance of credentials (i.e. PMP(R), PMI-ACP(R), CSM(R)).  Schedule time on your calendar for 30 minutes to input your contact hours for the workshops you attended.

Oh and one more tip: apply these tips within 2-5 days after your attendance. All of these tips have been extremely helpful for me after the conference and in preparation for the next conference. I hope you find some value in them too. What are your thoughts? Do you have additional post-conference tips?

Thanks for reading!

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