I just returned from the International Nanny Association Annual Conference. My 5th! Though I am currently not nannying, I am still very involved in the industry and with our local CincyNanny community. I get so much out of this conference both personal and professional. I come home energized, excited, but a little afraid. I desperately want to make sure that the seeds planted at conference will grow. That the ideas that challenged me would be set to action. That I would live passionately and never settle for so-so.
I usually debrief my trip on the plane ride home. I’ll journal and make a “to do” list. I was able to drive to this conference and now find my mind still swimming with the information, ideas, and memories. So as I process, I thought that I would share it …via the blogosphere.
1. Un-pack with next time in mind
Yes, we all unpack and do laundry when we get home. But, it is important to notice items that you brought home and remind yourself of items you wish that you had taken – business cards, more cash or better walking shoes. If you had a packing list, update it! Make a note or create a generic packing list for next time.
2. Count your costs
Grap a letter-sized envelope and place all your conference receipts inside. Include items you paid for ahead of time, like travel expenses. Depending on your career, items may be deductible. Tally up your expenses on the outside of your envelope by category and you won’t have to think about it come tax time.
3. Connect online
Lay out the business cards you collected and/or the contact list of attendees (if available). Take some time to find these new friends with social media whether it be linked in, facebook, twitter, etc. Send a message to the ones that you had a nice connection with and would like to stay in touch. You may even want to share pictures or write a hand-written note.
4. Continuing ED
Conferences are a great place to find new experts and professionals in your industry. Note who inspired you and find them! If you liked their information at conference, make sure you’ll receive more after conference. Follow their blog, order a book, register for their newsletter, follow them on social media. Set yourself up to be inspired by them again…even virtually.
5. Make the most of your notes
Take time to re-read your notes before you hide them away. Read them with a colored pen or highlighter. Notice some ideas that really challenged you, spoke to you, intrigued you and even things you disagreed with. Pull out those nuggets and keep them infront of your face for a few weeks. Write them on post-it notes or note cards where you can revisit the ideas. Keep those sparks from burning out. (Quote from Dr. G)
After you have sorted through all the papers, notes, biz cards, etc. package them in a way you can reference them. For this conference I just attended, I like to file all my items in my ‘Nanny & Kids Resources’ Binder. Nothing fancy, just a 3 ring binder where I drop notes. I do make sure to have dates, location, and speaker/author on all my notes. By the way I don’t keep everything. Don’t hang on to things you know that you won’t use.
7. Take Action!
A few days away from normal life can really inspire you. Don’t let the opportunity for life change just pass you by. Schedule a block of time to debrief – alone, just you. Get out of your house for a few hours, take your conference notes, and write out at least 3 action steps for yourself. This might include how to come back to the same conference or to just get away more often. Whatever the next steps write them down. Then…. follow through and do them!
My debrief time is going to be Friday afternoon. What about you?
What do you do upon returning from a conference?