From Conference to the Workplace

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How to maintain momentum and meaningful change

Picture this: you’ve been to a work conference or event and have returned having learnt some great things. You’re refreshed and eager to help others, and want to share the new thoughts, processes and general feelings of renewed motivation you’ve acquired. 

Unfortunately, most of the time it’s not as easy as shouting from a rooftop, and this is often where people will come unstuck. Many of us are collaborators, so look to others to form bonds that in turn help that momentum. We want to share our discoveries in the hope that it keeps the fire going.

Looking for ideas to help you to keep momentum post-conference? Here are five ways to harness your energy and momentum in a positive way.

1.   Know your WHY

First and foremost, it is important for you to understand your ‘Why’. As well as for yourself, you want to develop your story for others to share in.

It’s not enough to say to someone “I went to this conference and it was amazing”. To engage and encourage a conversation, you need to be specific. What people want to know and what will engage them is hidden around the WHY. Why was it amazing? What in particular inspired you, that might also inspire them in turn?

One of our peers returned recently from a conference, and their enthusiasm and descriptions had our team talking and challenging each other.

“One of my highlights was the guest speaker in the first session, Tim Lawless ...have you heard of him? He gave such an in-depth overview of the market and current trends and broke it down by segment. He challenged my thinking on where we are investing our energy and resources. I think we could be doing more with the same resources..”

We loved this WHY because it gave specifics. It helped its audience to understand what they may have taken out of the conference themselves, or what they might gain from hearing these key points in person. It helped them understand the benefits that the attendee got from their investment in going.

2.   Document your action plan

Before you leave the conference; draft an action plan. What specifically do you want to do differently, implement, change or stop as a result of what you have learnt?

Develop some milestones for yourself. What will the end of week 1, week 8 and week 12 look like? How will you know that you are successful? What does this look like? Be specific.

3.   Identify barriers

Accept that there will be barriers. Think through how you are going to overcome them.  There will be challenges and changes in priorities, some you will be able to control and others you won’t.  Identifying these possible roadblocks beforehand and how you will overcome them will go a long way to keeping you on track when your day or week becomes derailed. 

4.   Share your plan

Work with someone at the conference to share your action plan and agree to support each other to hold accountability.  Schedule a time to catch up after the conference to review the action plan, talk through challenges and share any success stories.  

In addition to someone who attended the conference, consider sharing your plan with someone who wasn’t at the conference, but is engaged in your development and growth.  In most cases, this person would likely be your manager.  Schedule time to talk them through your WHY from the conference, take them through your action plan including what you believe success will look like. 

5.   Make time to reflect

Finally, make time to reflect.  Reflection turns your experience into genuine learning. Re-read any materials you have, as well as any notes you took.

Review your action plan and identify if there is anything you could be doing differently to help you to achieve your plan.

Take the time to make new notes include what you have applied or learnt since the event. Is there anything outside the event that has happened that has complemented your learning or helped you to develop further?

When you reflect and see all the sources of your learning as a web of connected experiences as opposed to siloed learnings, you build and understand your capabilities holistically and will be making sustainable change.