Preparing for Conferences

Have you ever gone to an large event or conference to improve your business and walked away with a long list of things you’re going to do to improve your business? You’re all excited about it and then you get home and your real life kicks in. You don’t have the vibe of the event anymore and you look at that long list and instead of being excited it’s just more stuff to do – UGH.

Can you relate?

I know I can.

Last year I went to an event and was really concerned about this happening, so I decided to do something that can be difficult for me (you might have heard me mention it before) I took a step back and evaluated.

I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do everything that was mentioned over the course of three days (and I’d probably drive myself and my loved ones a bit batty if I did). So, I took a look at my business and my goals.

I recognized that I wasn’t an established business with a steady stream of clients. So, I wasn’t ready for anything that built on that (this was super hard for me to admit, even just to myself).

And anything that was more geared to someone building their business (or creating a new one) was going to apply.

And given what I know about myself, I knew I’d walk out with things I wanted to do, things that I wasn’t ready for and wanted to remember, ideas to blog about, things to research or learn more about and probably a few other things.

I also expected a binder with the slides and space for notes – notes that I would probably find almost impossible to find again or even remember.

So, what did I do? I pulled out my colored note cards and some sticky notes. I labeled each color something different and stuck a blank sticky note on the inside of my binder when I got it (read on more info on this).

While I didn’t implement everything I wanted to when I got home – I didn’t feel overwhelmed by a long list full of things that I could do and things I wanted to do but wasn’t ready for.

How do you do this? 

  1. Recognize where you are in your business.
    I know this can be difficult. You don’t have to tell anyone else. And it’s really freeing to be able to say to someone thinking about a strategy that you know you’re not ready for “that’s not something I’m focusing on right now” or “that’s not where I am in my business right now.”

  2. Get some note cards or something else to jot brief ideas or tasks on.
    I had several different categories:
    a.     To-do – I jotted the page from the binder next to it
    b.      Blog ideas
    d.      Things to journal about later (things I wanted to think more about)
    e.      Quotes – I collect them and the event had a lot of great ones

    Why not just write everything down in one place on a piece of paper? I find it hard to easily find what I’m looking for when everything is together (if it works for you great!). I know I’m sometimes easily sidetracked or discouraged and looking at a page full of each category above can overwhelm me. So, I create tricks like these to support me.

  3. Bring sticky notes.
    I brought regular sticky notes and stuck one on the inside of the binder. Generally, the binders don’t have an index, so when we hit a section I knew I’d want to reference later, I wrote the topic and page number on the sticky.

    I also placed a sticky note, slightly sticking out, on the pages I wanted to have quick access to. These were things like the schedule and information that I wanted to come back to right away.

    Some events will have a spot for your name and phone number on the first page. If the one you’re at doesn’t, write it on a sticky and put it on the first page. This way you can be reunited if it is accidentally misplaced (it happens, someone set theirs down next to the sinks in the bathroom and forgot it).

Most importantly, do what supports you. This might mean spending some time alone during a break or meal time or it might mean inviting someone you’re sitting near to lunch (really, people appreciate this – most people are there alone or like the opportunity to get to know other people).

What do you do at large events or conferences to prevent overwhelm? Share in the comments below.