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Making the Most of Conferences & Events - Post Event Follow-Up

You invested both time and money in a business conference, event or tradeshow. And it was worth it, not only was the swim-up bar amazing, but you gained valuable knowledge and met some great people. So how do you keep the momentum going? What do you do with the catalogs, post cards, notes, business cards, and more importantly the relationships you collected?

I attend many conferences and events and just recently attended the (life-changing) Sparkle Hustle Grow Work Hard, Play Hard Women's Business Retreat, so I know first hand how overwhelming it can be when you return home with bags to unpack and dreams to conquer. Depending on the type of work you do, and the nature of the conference you attended, follow-up will vary, but in general you should:

  1. CONNECT. Follow-up with contacts by connecting on social media and/or LinkedIn.

  2. UPDATE CONTACTS. Add key people to your contact list.  In the notes section add details that will help you remember who they are, how you met them, and any follow-up that needs to happen.

  3. FOLLOW-UP. Do what you say you are going to do, talk by phone, schedule a meeting, send a catalog or make an email introduction. No matter how much time you spend telling someone who you are and what you do, it's what you show them that will count. I'm not sure there is a definitive rule of etiquette for follow-up timing, but I think 2 weeks post-conference is reasonable. Within two weeks, most people will still be able to recall any conversations that were had.

  4. SORT & ORGANIZE MATERIALS. Regift or recycle any promotional items you don't plan to use. If a catalog or worksheet is available electronically, ask for a copy, download it or bookmark the URL. If not, use Magazine Files to keep catalogs accessible, remember to date them and attach a business card if appropriate. Hole punch worksheets and add them to your planner or note book.

  5. CREATE A TASK LIST FROM NOTES. Consolidate your notes into actionable tasks and add to your to do list.

I toyed with the idea of adding unpacking to the list, but I don't think it will make a difference. There are two types of people in the world, those that unpack immediately and those that take time to unpack (I'm part of the latter). As an organizational expert, I'm hesitant to admit it, but at this point in my life and career I'm comfortable with the fact that there are some things I'm good at (packing) and somethings I'm not good at (unpacking). It took me a few weeks to unpack after the Sparkle, Hustle, Grow retreat, but you'll be glad to know I did my business follow-up right away!

PICTURED: Holly Bohn, Julie Ball, Jamie Thompson at Sparkle Hustle Grow, Work Hard Play Hard Women's Business Retreat PHOTO BY: Nicolette Sessin Photography