You made your plea to your boss and they gave you the thumbs up to attend a marketing conference. Great – now how do you make sure to show her/him that this was not a bad decision or a waste of company time and money?

Tablet pc cup of coffee and notepad at table.jpgLike I always say: prior proper planning prevents poor performance. I live by this mantra every day to ensure that I am at my best. It translates to every aspect of life whether it be exercise, nutrition, work, or play. For example, you don’t just tell yourself you’ll eat healthier, exercise more, and end up healthier in the end. You plan your meals, schedule your gym time, and stick to that plan to reach the goals you had in mind. The same goes for a marketing seminar. You have to go in with a game-plan, set some goals, and be prepared to achieve those goals. Here's what I mean.

BEFORE:

RESEARCH THE KEY SPEAKERS AND COMPANIES AT THE SEMINAR

If your boss is giving you the go-ahead to attend a marketing seminar, put in some work on the front-end to know what to prepare for. Get an idea of what the day will bring and what the speakers will be discussing. You’ll feel more confident about what to expect and more confident in what skills you can learn at the conference.  

COME WITH QUESTIONS 

You have some of the best industry thought leaders in front of you, there’s no time for celebrity shock! Come prepared with questions to ask; write down your curiosities. Maybe you’re interested in a speaker’s career path or a specific marketing practice that you’ve been hearing about lately, write it down and get those questions answered.

BRING A FRIEND 

Marketing events can be intimidating, so why not bring a friend to ease some of your nerves? You can make a game-plan together, collaborate on questions to ask, and prepare one another for what the day might bring. Come event day, you’ll be thankful to have a partner-in-crime tackling it with you.

  

DAY OF:

ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE

You’re surrounded by like-minded individuals who want to learn, network, and grow. It’s the perfect place to make connections, step outside of your comfort zone, and share your ideas with others. You never know, actively participating in each session and conversation may unearth a new skill to bring back to the office, or you may receive helpful feedback on an obstacle you’ve long struggled to overcome.

TAKE DETAILED NOTES

I’m not talking about just writing down the key concepts or points being made. Write down others’ comments, questions raised, AND your own thoughts. It’s easy to jot down other people’s good ideas, but we never write down our own thought processes, our own ideas that are just as credible. Scribbling down your own understanding of the information presented, in addition to others’, will help you decode your notes once you’re back in the office and help put your learning into action. 

AFTER:

PUT WORDS INTO MOTION

You attended the seminar, ate some great food, and even had time to stroll around downtown Minneapolis while you brainstormed with new friends. Now you’re back in the office feeling refreshed and fired up about what you learned. But, how do you implement the practices at your company? What do you implement? Take a step back and separate the knowledge from action. List out what you learned and what could be useful to practice in your company. Then, collaborate with your seminar buddy friend to figure out next steps to put your newfound knowledge into motion.

CONTINUE NETWORKING

You had great conversations with new people and most likely exchanged contact information with a few. Now it’s time to follow up with everyone you met. Connect with individuals on LinkedIn and send an email or handwritten note to thank them for their time. Whatever way you go about it, keep in touch with the people that influenced you and pushed you to be a better person – both professionally and personally.

Prior proper planning leads to superior performance, so don't skip it. Research and prepare questions before the event, actively participate and take notes while you're there, and return to the office with knowledge to put into motion to make the most of your marketing seminar. You and your boss will benefit. Happy employees make a happy workplace!

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