It’s only 2 weeks since bbcon came to a close for another year and for most of us it already seems a distant, happy memory. With everyone going back to their busy jobs, and most likely having to catch up on at least 2 days of work that was missed while in attendance, it’s easy to forget everything that was learnt during the conference. Hence it’s important to put an action plan in place to maximise the investment that you and your organisation have made in attending bbcon now.
Having attended quite a few industry conferences over the years here’s a few pointers as to how I think you can best do this:
- Present everything you learnt at bbcon back to your organisation
Organise a meeting with everyone who you think will be interested and present to them every piece of interesting information that you captured during the event. This could be anything from industry trends, best practice advice, or even a neat trick that someone demonstrated in which ever Blackbaud platform you’re using.
This is the most important thing to do after any conference as it serves to solidify everything that you learnt and also shows the organisation that their investment in attending the event was money and time well spent. This presentation will also promote discussion on the ideas that you bring back allowing you to work as a team to improve your organisation.
- Create an action plan for implementing what you learnt
bbcon can be a flood of information and sometimes when it’s all over you don’t know where to start in terms of putting it to action. The best way to do this is create a list of everything you think needs to be done and put it in to a spreadsheet (because Project Managers love spreadsheets!) Then prioritise the items based on the value that you think they’re going to contribute to the organisation and also work out how much effort they’re going to take. From here you can create the order in which they’re going to be implemented and set some dates. Make sure you stick to any dates set. If you’ve spent the time attending the conference, and spent time analysing how your organisation can improve then you need to follow through completely and actually affect change.
If you can, you should try and categorise the items in terms of complexity. Then what you can likely do is implement one complex item, plus a handful of simple items (low hanging fruit) at the same time. This will mean you’ll get through the list quicker, and add value quicker.
bbcon provides ample time to network with people in the industry. Take the time after the event to connect with those that you spoke with at the conference who you learnt something from, or you think that you can have an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship with.
LinkedIn is the perfect tool for this as these days, almost everyone is on it. Otherwise you’ll probably have collected a load of business cards with sufficient contact details to connect with people.
Remember don’t be shy to do this. People really appreciate being contacted after conferences as they feel that they’ve been able to add some value to your working life. It could be the start of a long and prosperous relationship. All you need to do is take the first step!
Everyone at Blackbaud Pacific hopes that you enjoyed bbcon 2014 and that you and your organisation got a lot of value out of attending. We’d love to hear any feedback you have on positive changes you made to your organisation after the conference.