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Extension > Family Matters > Living the Post-Conference Life

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Living the Post-Conference Life

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

Conference season is upon us! Many of us have attended conferences over the past few months and others will continue to do so in the upcoming months.

I don't know about you, but often when I attend a conference and meet new people and learn about new research and programming, I return home energized to apply all that I learned to my own work. But once I get to the office, the energy and ideas are pushed aside as I prioritize my existing work.

Here are some ways I've tried to keep the energy and ideas flowing in the first week of “Post-Conference Life:”
  1. Review your notes from the sessions you attended and the people you met.
  2. Schedule time for reflection and write down your thoughts. This helps to make connections between what you learned and who you met.
  3. Make a plan for action. Did you promise to follow up with someone who shared a similar interest? Did you make a note to look up a resource or research article mentioned in a session that would help inform your current or future work? Was there a new online tool you wanted to try? Or begin to follow a new organization or person on social media?
  4. Schedule time with colleagues who attended the same conference, as well as those who did not, to share something you learned or something that excited you about the conference. Brainstorm with your colleagues on next steps or how this might inform your work or the work of your team.
Make a commitment to making your “Post-Conference Life” as fulfilling as possible by taking these simple steps and talking with your supervisor about them. If you want to give yourself an extra nudge, send yourself a calendar invitation so you are sure to take the time to grow from your conference experience or ask a colleague to keep you accountable.

Do you have a strategy for maximizing the knowledge and networking gained when you attend a conference? How do you process, share, and apply what you learn in your “Post-Conference Life?” Please share in the comments section.

4 comments:

  1. I love the idea of scheduling time with colleagues to debrief. Those who attended may have come away with a different set of ideas and how to implement them. Those who did not attend may ask concrete questions about the value of the conference and how the team's work will be different.

    Lead Content Strategist for the College of Education and Human Design Amanda Costello once said that her boss gives her one day to decompress from a conference, then asks what one to two things she learned that she is going to start doing differently as a result of attending the conference. I think this kind of specificity and accountability is key.

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  2. Great comments Hannah-- love the idea of setting aside a day to reflect. Getting specific & being accountable by my colleagues would be key!

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  3. Maybe we can take some time at our next FR meeting time to do some reflection on NCFR since so many of us were at the conference. We don't often take the time to reflect or share what we learned with our co-workers.

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  4. When I return home, I really want to take some time and dig in to the materials from sessions I attended and some that I wanted to but didn't have the ability to. Maybe it's being an introvert, but I like to have some time to think about the sessions and how I might be able to apply the materials in my own work.

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