Welcome to our Marketing Impact Vlog! Today, with event and conference season upon us, we’re talking about how to convert all that conference content into action steps that move your organization forward.
With a little advance planning and the tips we are sharing today, you can attend with a personal agenda and walk away with a laser focus for taking your team and projects to the next level.
So, you know how it goes.
One week before the conference or event, you’re looking at the agenda.
It’s two or three days packed with topics and experts that have you feeling giddy and overflowing with optimism for the clarity and answers you’re going to get during this “break” from the norm.
You attend the event. Taking pictures of presenters’ slides with your phone, tweeting the a-ha moments, and jotting notes on the insights you want to think about a little deeper…later.
(There’s usually not a lot of time for reflection during the event b/c the event organizers want to make the most of your time and will pack the agenda. Which is a good thing, if you are prepared to work it right!)
Then, you’re back in your office after the event. Depending on how you worked the event, your action steps may not be as clear as you’d like. Your enthusiasm may persist for a few days and help you share some insights with colleagues, but your ability to follow through over the long term may wane. Before you know it, you’re right back where you started with nothing more than a memory of the yummy empanadas that were served during the networking session and that strange guy who kept calling you Betsy (and your name is not Betsy).
So what can you do to MAKE SURE your event or conference time is well spent this year?!? We’ve got FIVE ESSENTIAL TIPS for you today.
These will help you focus, capture only what matters, and guarantee the right action after the event.
But first, Adam, let’s tell our marketing friends out there why we’re qualified to talk about this. I mean, sure, we’ve been to our fair share of conferences and events ourselves. But what else?
Adam: Yes, well, my entire career has been spent in the event and marketing space. I’ve seen people pivot and achieve massive success after an event. And I’ve seen countless others do nothing. What I’ve noticed is that information overload (and frustration) happens when people going into an event either A) have no goal, or B) have a goal, but they don’t have a focused and decisive plan that makes sense for that goal.
It’s like saying I want to learn to ski by the end of the winter, and you hop around willy nilly to ski shops, drop-in lessons on the slopes, cross-fit workouts to build your strength, and drinking beet juice every morning because a friend told you it’s good to do. But then comes the end of the season, and you’ve done a bunch of things, but you still haven’t really learned to ski.
Events can certainly be the same way. There’s a lot offered for you to take advantage of, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.
In addition, at the end of every one of our Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange events, we have a session called “The Great Take-Away: Implementing the Best, Brightest and Boldest Ideas from the Program”. So we’ve gathered input from hundreds of executives by now about how leaders are taking action on conference insights.
Tip #1: Write Down Three Goals before the event.
And not just any goals. I would recommend having a personal goal, a relationship goal, and a business goal.
So, for example, your personal goal could be: To be Inspired and Inspire Others. Jot down what kind of people you want to meet that will inspire you. Also jot down what experiences, knowledge, and passions you are bringing to share. Writing these things down will actually bring it to your attention so that when you’re at the event, you’ll naturally be on the lookout for them.
Your relationship goal could be to develop three meaningful connections. What would make for a meaningful connection to you? Write it down.
Your business goal (or goals) could be: What Insights, Best Practices, Strategies and/or Skills do you want to learn or expand on? Again write them down so they stay top-of-mind.
*BONUS tip: When you evaluate the agenda, ONLY go to those sessions that fit with one of these goals.
Tip #2: Have a column or a page in your notebook to capture Consistent Themes.
While it’s fun to sit back and just enjoy the presentations, your ability to take action in ways that are in alignment with your organization depends on you being engaged and sort of “Processing” the ideas as they come.
Taking notes is a basic way of processing what you’re hearing, but if you can go a step further and capture what you notice as “consistent themes” that keep coming up during the different sessions, you will start to simplify what you’re learning. This is going to drastically reduce your feeling of information overload and increase your ability to turn insights into action.
Plus, there’s a hidden benefit to this tip: Anytime you are listening with the intent to summarize or to tell someone else about it, you tend to pay close attention. You stay focused. You simplify. And that’s what this tip is all about.
Tip #3: Decide what makes your “most likely to share” list?
At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to jot down, “What are three things you learned that you are most likely to share with colleagues?”
Don’t wait until the end of the entire event to do this. Take this simple step after each day, and again simplifying while the information is fresh will increase your chances of implementing.
Tip #4: Map a simple implementation plan.
As soon as possible, you have to be able to visualize how your insights are going to translate into action. Here’s where it starts:
Make three columns on your paper.
The first column is the Insight, Strategy and/or Skill you learned that you want to take action on. You can have more than one. Maybe you have a list of 4-5. These would be labeled as your OBJECTIVES. For example, Implement a video strategy to tell our customer success stories because you learned that videos are getting far better engagement results than still images.
The second column is going to be Who needs to be involved? List the individuals or teams that you need to bring to the table to get this objective underway.
The third column is When is this going to be worked on? With everything you likely already have in the works back at the office, it may not be realistic to think that all of the new ideas you gathered at the event can be started right away. Deciding to start a project at a time that makes sense for your company and the team can make or break your success in taking action.
Tip #5: Calendar Your Action Items
Because “what gets scheduled gets done”, it’s essential to schedule on your calendar (and your team’s calendar, if needed) the first action step you need to take for each of your objectives in your implementation plan. Once that first meeting is underway, give yourself a timeline for completing those goals. If you don’t set a timeline you’ll never complete it.
If you implement all five of these tips, you will officially and confidently put your conference insight into action.
That’s right! If you’re looking for a marketing executive event, we highly encourage you to attend the 20th anniversary of our Marketing Impact event. This is a Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange and if you’ve never attended one, you MUST place this event on your calendar. Nicole and I will be there and look forward to meeting you. For more information, please visit marketingmindxchange.com.
Until next time, continue to grow your brand…and Drive demand! See you next time!