So you just attended a business conference. You met lots of amazing people, were exposed to some new and energizing ideas, and learned a lot. Now what?
As some members of the Fiind team just returned from Microsoft Inspire, this is a question that’s top of mind for us. The thing with business conferences is they’re typically just a beginning: the deeper value comes in the aftermath. You’ll unlock the real rewards by keeping the momentum going and integrating your top takeaways into your day-to-day.
Here are 8 ways to make the most of your business conference experience after the event.
What to do after attending a business conference to make the most of your experience
1. Take a moment to catch your breath
Typically, there is a lot going on at a conference – sessions, meetings, trade shows, demos, events, and more. As you transition back to your day-to-day, take a beat to get back into your usual groove. Hug your family and pets, say hi to your friends, water your plants, and unpack.
2. Organize your thoughts
- While things are fresh in your mind, it’s a good time to take a moment to review and consolidate your notes, reflect on key learnings and goals, and clarify takeaways and next steps. Some themes you might want to think about:
- General insights from the conference
- Takeaways from the sessions/meetings/networking
- What do you want to do differently/do more of/stop doing/start doing based on what you learned?
- Examples of stand-out things (messaging, presentations, trade show booths, swag, interactions, etc.)
- Ideas to discuss with your team
- Ideas to discuss with partners and customers
- Later: Ideas to learn more about/explore further
- People to contact/thank/follow up
- Feedback about the conference
- What you’ll do different next time
- Action items for yourself
- Action items for your team
3. Prioritize and get moving on action items
With your action items in hand, now to prioritize and get to work so you can keep the conference momentum going! While there are lots of prioritization frameworks to consider, here’s a simple way to look at your to-do list:
- Now: what to do today
- Next: what to do before the end of this week
- Later: what to look at next week and beyond
4. Consolidate your contacts
Before you lose that shiny new collection of business cards, digitize them! There are a range of great apps to help you scan and store your collection so you can integrate into your address book and CRM to make connecting easier. Here are some business card scanner apps to consider.
Conferences are about bringing people together, but this is only the beginning: the real value lies in what comes from these connections. To build relationships that matter, you’ve got to put in some effort. Here are some ways you might want to cultivate connections post-conference:
- Follow-up on next steps with key contacts you met at the conference so you can accelerate forward together.
- Send short thank you notes to people you met or reconnected with, or share a resource that you think they might find of interest.
- Reach out to people you didn’t get to meet and let them know you appreciated something they contributed. For example, if you didn’t get to connect with a session speaker, contact them to let them know what specifically you appreciated about their presentation and how it helped you.
- Send a note to conference organizers to say thanks. They put a lot of energy and effort into making the conference happen.
6. Provide feedback
What were some of the highlights from your conference experience? How about some friction points? What would you have liked to see more of? What would you like to see being done differently next time? This type of feedback can help organizers make the conference experience even better next time. As you say thanks, don’t forget to take a moment to provide respectful feedback that will feed forward into future conference experiences.
Perhaps you were the only person from your company or one of a handful of team members who had a chance to attend the conference. Bring your colleagues into the experience by sharing, whether in an email, conversation, video, blog post, lunch and learn, Bitmoji series, or whatever suits you. You might want to consider how you would like to share your experience with your customers too.
8. Think about the next business conference
Before you forget, save the date for the next event in your calendar. It’ll be here before you know it! You might also want to add in reminders for any important dates you’ll want to keep in mind in your prep cycle.
What do you do after you attend a business conference?
Did we miss your go-to post-business conference tactic? We’d love to know how you make the most of a business conference after the event. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Did we miss you at Microsoft Inspire?
We’re bummed we didn’t get to connect in Las Vegas, but no time like the present. Reach out and say hello! We’d love to learn more about you and your Microsoft Inspire experience.