Amy Nelson; Learning Experience Principle; LexisNexis:
So, you attended a user conference. Now come the inevitable questions about your experience at the industry event: How was the conference? What did you learn? Don't waste the chance to take full advantage of the professional development opportunity!
Record Your Thoughts
Go back through all the notes you took during the conference, organize your thoughts into a narrative. Record this information to memorialize your thoughts and ideas. This activity will also help focus your lessons learned. Use this narrative when having performance reviews. You may also decide to share your insights. Write a blog or a memo and then distribute it to interested parties.
Optimize the Professional Development
Your supervisor most likely approved the cost of attending the conference. Tell them why it was valuable so you can partake in more opportunities. Those recorded thoughts I mentioned before – position them in context with your career. How will the skills you learned at the conference contribute to your success? Discuss how you can apply those lessons learned to your position, how can you grow your position or help others do their job better.
Present your Takeaways
Did you learn anything that would benefit others? Any of the following ideas will help you share your experience. Meet with product champions or supervisory staff to make process improvements based on information gathered at the conference. Ask for 5-15 minutes at the next staff meeting to share your conference takeaways. Conduct a training session or draft a reference document to share new functionality or efficiencies with co-workers.
Make an Action Plan
If you took my advice from the last blog, you spent time reflecting while you were at the conference. Now take those reflections and make them into an action plan. Is there new functionality being developed that your company can use? Make plans now to configure, train, and use the tools. Did you get any ideas for process improvement? Plan to implement some improvements to your processes. Schedule meetings with key stakeholders to get the action plan moving.
Get into the Feedback Loop
Now that you have been to a conference, you have most likely met many of the product team. Connect with everyone on social media, product team members are always sharing important updates. Contribute to the idea boards in the product, fill out the surveys and questionnaires, talk often with your account manager or customer care representative. These are the pathways to get your wants and needs on the product’s doorstep.
This is the last of a 3-part blog series on User Conferences. Be sure to read the first two blogs (Part 1, Part 2) on why conferences are important and how to make the most of your conference time.