If you’re like me, you really get inspired when you attend an editing conference. It’s exciting to learn about trends in language and tools, see old friends and make new ones, and re-invigorate your editing.
But as extroverts come down from the “conference high” and introverts retreat and recover, the enthusiasm of the conference can fade quickly.
How do you make the conference inspiration and learning last all year? Implement some simple steps, and you’ll maximize your investment in conference attendance.
1 Month After the Conference
Immediately after the conference work on time-sensitive tasks, such as consolidating connections and following up with new contacts.
- Pull out an index card that says “Great Idea for Now!” and work on those items.
- Go through the business cards you collected, and reach out to new contacts on social media. Follow blogs and Twitter feeds of speakers and attendees you liked.
- Follow up with anyone you promised something to: your résumé, information, links, a blog post, Skype call, or a coffee date.
- Write up your impressions of the conference sessions for a blog post or social media posts. Others will want to read about your experience, and it will help you review what you learned.
- Review notes and handouts for the sessions you attended so that you cement your learning. If handouts are posted publicly, review those for sessions you missed.
Tip: Some items require following up later instead of immediately. Schedule reminders to complete these tasks at the correct time.
3–4 Months After the Conference
- Pull out the index card that says “Good Idea for Later!” and work on those items. Schedule items that need to happen even later.
- Check out more training. Most of the organizations that put on large editorial conferences offer more training options, from webinars to workshops to chapter meeting programs. Always be learning.
- Plan for the next conference. Many groups put on annual or biennial conferences. Start laying plans now to attend the next one: budgeting for registration and travel, arranging time off, making reservations, taking advantage of any early bird discounts, even preparing to present a session.
6–9 Months After the Conference
- Review whatever you started to put in place immediately after the conference: What did you complete? What needs more attention or finishing? What yielded results? What needs adjusting?
- Review your notes, handouts, and materials from the conference . Refresh your memory and let it inspire you again.
- Check back in with those you followed up with immediately after the conference. Chances are good that at least one or two conversations lapsed into “let’s pick this up later.” Later is now! Resume any conversations that might have fall by the wayside.
9–12 Months After the Conference
- Review your accomplishments for the past year, and track which ones came from something you learned at a conference. Assess what improved your work skills, increased your productivity, brought you new clients or career opportunities, and so on. If you can track income specifically from these activities, you can measure how well your investment in conference attendance paid off.
- Investigate program information for the next conference (if annual). Even if you aren’t planning to attend, you can find out about sponsors, speakers, and topics, following them via blog and social media.
- Start strategizing (and registering, if necessary) for sessions you want to attend at the next conference.
With a long-term view of development, any editor can turn conference attendance into a significant career boost.
You can find even more great tips for conferences in our ebook, Surviving and Thriving at Conferences.