The Academy Team is looking forward to seeing our Members and their teams face-to-face at our Spring Summit in Austin, TX. For our Member Firms that did not attend our Fall Summit in San Diego, it has been 2+ years since their last in-person Summit. That got me thinking, I bet a lot of attorneys have not attended in-person conferences due to cancellations or online only options. Since we all may be a bit rusty on how to get the most out of in-person educational events, I put together my top 4 tips for maximizing an in-person training experience.
Tip 1: Put in the Prep Work
- Set time aside to review the Agenda in detail PRIOR to arriving on site so you can decide which sessions you’ll attend, and you don’t feel flustered onsite. Academy Members – If you’re not sure, ask your Practice Building Coach what they recommend.
- Are you bringing a team with you? Divide and conquer so you can maximize your firm’s knowledge
- Conferences are moving away from printing materials so set aside time prior to your trip to download any materials and to login to the Event App (if the conference has one) to make sure the materials you need will be at your fingertips.
- Know your passwords:
- Hands-on sessions are a great way to take action on new ideas while onsite, but you don’t want to be stuck on the login screen. Confirm you have your logins for important systems such email marketing accounts, legal software, and other conference-specific sessions.
- You’ll want to share your experience on social media so make sure you have those logins and passwords on your phone or laptop so you’re able to post in real time.
Tip 2: Set Daily Action Items
Once you arrive at a conference it becomes a whirlwind and then it is over before you know it. In order to accomplish your objectives, create an action item list for each day.
- For example, a goal might be to gain no less than three new revenue generating ideas before you depart. Break it down so you can write down one idea per day.
- If you need to strengthen your professional network, an objective may be to connect with three people who are successful in an area that you want to grow or improve in your practice. Try identifying one person to connect with each day.
- The best time to reflect and solidify new lessons learned is while that information is still fresh. Set aside time each day of the conference.
- Send out To-Do’s that can easily be started while you’re still at the conference with deadlines.
- Set appointments on your calendar to knock out larger action items you want to implement or research.
- Jot down all the great ideas you’ve learned through a shared Google Doc with the team back at the office.
- Set a time to connect with a sponsor to see if they can improve your results or systems
Tip 3: Have Some Fun!
- Post to social media. Make sure your clients and centers of influence know you are attending a conference to improve your skills and stay on the cutting edge. For Academy Members, use our hashtag #AcademySummit.
- Get outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone new. When picking a seat for a meal or in a session, try sitting by someone you haven’t met before.
- Be sure to carve out time to see your friends as well! I’d recommend reaching out prior to the conference to make sure you can grab coffee or a meal with attendees you may have not had the chance to see face-to-face in a while. Part of the magic of our Academy Events is what happens in hallway conversations or chatting over a meal. Be sure you don’t miss the chance to soak up those experiences.
Tip 4: Follow Through!
The last piece of this puzzle is follow-through.
- Prior to attending the conference, schedule a recap meeting for you and your team for when you return.
- In this recap meeting plan to flush out the new ideas, identify deadlines, and assign action items to specific team Members.
- Be sure you have a plan to spark productive reflection.
Your business is not going to transform itself over the span of a single conference — it’s about what you learn and implement going forward that will have the greatest affect. By taking a few of these steps to ensure you are best prepared to absorb and benefit from your time at these events, your investment of both time and travel will prove to be much more worthwhile in the long run. For those of you attending our upcoming Spring Summit, we can’t wait to see you there! If you are interested in attending an Academy Summit as a guest, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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