Gamma Phi Beta International staff members, volunteer leaders and chapter advisors convened this past weekend in Frisco, Texas, for the REAL Leadership Institute and three days of leadership, sisterhood and networking. Conferences can be a great place to share ideas, learn new skills or make a connection with an expert. At the same time conferences often have you going a mile a minute, staying up way past your bedtime and meeting more people than you can remember. You probably won't have a lot of time to think, work or process while you are at a conference so here is a checklist to follow once you get home to get the most from your conference experience:
1. Review your notes
Before you have time to forget or misplace your notes take some time to review all of the things you have written down. Make a list of any notes you need to follow up on such as sending an email to a new contact or sharing an idea with another volunteer or collegiate chapter leader. Find a safe place to keep them or transfer them into a note-keeping system like Evernote so you can refer back to them when you're ready.
2. Write and reflect
Take 10 minutes and write down the three most valuable things you learned at the conference. For each takeaway answer the following:
- Why did I find this information useful?
- How does this information guide my next steps?
- Who else needs to know this information?
3) Check your email
While away your inbox was probably neglected. Carve out some time to clear out your inbox after you return home. You should come home with renewed energy for your organization after a conference and there is nothing like a cluttered inbox to ruin your motivation. Hop into your favorite coffee shop or listen to music to make the task a bit more enjoyable.
4) Complete any post-conference surveys
One email sure to be in your inbox will be some kind of post-conference survey. Putting together a conference is no easy feat and takes many months of thought and planning. Take the time to provide feedback and constructive notes for the event staff following a conference. They want to ensure you have a good experience and appreciate any feedback you can provide.
5) Follow up with connections
Don't let the conference be the last time you hear from the connections you made while you were there. Send an email or connect via social media with women who made an impact on you. Write down three to four names of people you would like to stay in contact with and be intentional about communicating with them after you return home.