Have you ever looked forward to attending a meeting or conference in anticipation of everything you would get out of it? You meet new people, gain new insights, generate new ideas, and leave inspired and excited? Then fast forward a month or two and reality has slowly started to set in and you can barely remember what those insights and ideas were. Have you had that happen to you? You’re not alone, in fact you’re in good company. Don’t worry, with proper planning you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your time out of the office.
For years, we’ve encouraged our members to start any meeting or activity with the end in mind. By that we mean, identifying what you want to get out of the meeting before you arrive. And not something jotted down on the fly. We are talking about taking time to consider the agenda and how it can tie into your organizational goals. For example, a goal might be to gain no less than three new revenue generating ideas before you depart. Or meet three people who are successful in an area that you want to grow or improve in your practice. When reviewing the agenda, determine who will be going to the Main Track sessions and who will be going to the Breakout Track sessions. You don’t want your entire team in the Main Room if there are breakout sessions that are relevant to your goals.
While at the conference, have a daily huddle with your team. This is an opportunity to fill in your teammates on what you’ve learned while also creating accountability for you. You’ll want to:
- Identify action items from the sessions you attended AND most importantly, the deadlines you’ve assigned to these action items.
- Is there something you can do NOW (schedule a meeting, block time on your calendar or send an email) to get this project started while you’re still at the conference?
- Identify ideas to take back to the office – can you set up a shared Google Doc where you and your team can add ideas as you are inspired?
If you’re traveling alone to the conference, set a reminder on your phone to focus on this at the end of each day or during a break.
One more thing to consider before attending the conference is how will you get outside of your comfort zone? Make a game out of trying something new. Set a daily activities checklist for yourself. For example:
- Meet 1 new person
- Add a social media post about your on-going education using the hashtag #AcademySummit
- Visit with a sponsor to see if they can improve your results or systems
- Sit with someone new at a meal
The last piece of this puzzle is follow through. Prior to attending the conference, schedule a recap meeting for you and your team when you return to the office. In this recap meeting you will flush out the new ideas, identify deadlines and action items for specific team members.
So before your next meeting or conference, start with your ideal end in mind. Create intentional goals with your team, then bring back those items or ideas to your team to get the ball rolling.
Associate Director, Projects and Event Planning
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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