You finally registered for that seminar, training class, or workshop you've been wanting to take but never had time. The day of the event finally arrives and you wonder what brilliant nuggets of information you will walk away with today. A good rule of thumb to use when judging how well a seminar was is that if you leave having learned one thing, it was a success.
In the morning, get up earlier than you normally would so you have to check some emails before leaving for the day. Be sure to leave yourself enough travel time. Eat a healthy breakfast if one is not being served by the host. If a breakfast is being served to the attendees, go! You can use this time to network – make some new friends that you can meet up with again at lunch or during group exercises. Don’t forget your business cards and jacket in case you get cold. Most event hosts provide a notepad and pen, but bring a backup just in case.
When you get to the event, register or sign in, grab some coffee and water, then find a seat close to the front. If you don’t know anyone at this point, start some small talk with the people around you. Once the speaker begins, silence you cell phone and get your pen and paper ready. If there’s a slide show to accompany the message being delivered, don’t get too stressed about writing every tidbit of information down. Make meaningful notes that can accompany the slides later, once you get a copy of them.
If there are breakout sessions or group activities, take advantage. This is your chance to get outsiders perspective and new ideas on a particular issue you are tackling or problem you are trying to overcome. Use the lunch hour to rejoin some new friends and bounce ideas off of them. If there’s time scheduled for some Q&A with the presenter, be sure to jot down a few questions to ask.
So the seminar is over and it was one of the best you’ve attended in quite some time. It got you all jazzed up and now, you can’t wait to get back to the office to start making some serious changes. Unfortunately, that’s not really feasible. It’s best to take it one step at a time.
Step one is to complete the post seminar survey. Companies like Ragan Training give an incentive to complete their survey – do it and receive the slides from the presentation. Be sure to give an honest review of the event and the presenter. Step two is to go through your notes again, and the slides, and add any secondary notes that came to you while mulling over the seminar.
Step three is to get on LinkedIn to connect with the people you met at the event, along with the presenters, and join any corresponding groups. Start meaningful conversations with the new connections and build a rapport with them. Step four is to sign up for emails or newsletters from the presenter. For example, after attending a Content Marketing Institute workshop, I signed up for their weekly emails and now get great tips, white papers, event reminders, etc. emailed to me.
And the most important step, step five, is to create a plan of action – start with the easiest things to change first, or pick the one thing that resonated with you most and start there. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once. “Change takes time. Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears,” Barbara Johnson
What seminar, training class, or workshop have you attended lately? Share your “need to know” tips with us!