Friday, April 17, 2015

10 Post-Event Tips to Get the Most Out of Conference Attendance

By Gina F. Rubel

What do you do to follow up with people you met and things you learned about at a meeting or conference? Do you just take the business cards that you received and stuff them in a drawer or do you do something with them? Do you take the conference materials and put them on a shelf?

This past week, I spent several days in San Diego at the Legal Marketing Association International Conference (#LMA15) where I had the opportunity to both teach and to learn. I co-presented a program with three other experienced legal marketers: Roy Sexton of Trott & Trott (Ann Arbor), Heather Morse Geller of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger (Los Angeles) and Megan McKeon of Katten Muchin Rosenman (Chicago). We discussed collaboration and coexistence among marketers and lawyers, touching on law firm culture, the generations in the workplace, how to communicate effectively with lawyers, and much more.

After a long, cross-country journey and time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, I took time upon my return (that I had set aside) to follow up and process information I had acquired. Here are some of the things that I do to get the most out of the conference after attending:

1) Connect with everyone that I met for the first time on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter.
2) Send hand-written notes to people with whom I want to follow up.
3) Add select individuals to my personal contact database and CRM system and update contact information for those who are with new companies.
4) Download all important materials and review them for a second time.
5) Share conference take-aways with my marketing and public relations teams.
6) Make notes on the restaurants we visited (and perhaps rate them on TripAdvisor) in the event we end up back in the same city for a future conference or meetings.
7) Capture the Twitter stream using (assuming I remembered to set one up pre-conference) and review it for trends and nuggets of important information.
8) Send thank you notes to anyone who took the time to do something special such as invite me to dinner or pay for a taxi.
9) Download and begin using valuable apps that I learned about at the conference.
10) Follow up and schedule meetings with people who I said I would follow up with.

While these 10 post-event tips to get the most out of conference attendance seem simple, it takes hours to complete them and most people say they are simply “too busy” to do anything once they return to their offices. Take the time to capitalize on all of the great relationships you developed and information you learned. Otherwise, it all just falls on deaf ears.

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