The after conference

After attending a professional conference, you are probably tired and behind on things both at home and at work. The last thing you want to do is come home and continue the conference – but this is exactly what you should do. You’ll get a lot more out of the conference experience if you collect your thoughts, follow up with fellow attendees, and get started on anything you promised to do right away.

Write a conference report. Your boss may ask for this – but even if he or she doesn’t, write one. I once had a boss who would stop by my office after a conference and ask how it went. I learned to come back from every conference with a quick sentence or two about the value of the conference. Your conference report could be as brief as that, or maybe something longer written in your diary, filed with your conference materials, or posted on your blog. Consider writing something for an association newsletter or blog, which will also benefit your colleagues who couldn’t attend the conference. Writing about the conference experience will help you digest what you learned, and give you something to say when people ask about the conference.

Follow up with colleagues. You probably met some new people at the conference. Did you promise to send them anything? Do they have blogs, Twitter feeds, or LinkedIn profiles you can follow? If you want to stay connected, don’t wait until you have a drawer filled with business cards from people you don’t remember.

Let people know what you learned. If you are able to accomplish something at work based on what you learned or who you met at a conference, let your boss and co-workers know. It helps them see the value of professional development activities.

I was inspired to write these tips partly because I just got back from the SLA Leadership Summit (watch for more blog posts about what I learned!) and partly by a post from the Embedded Librarian.

The post actually offers a related pre-conference tip:

start telling your colleagues about SLA annual conference as soon as you register. This way (ideally) they will be more interested in what you’ve learned there once you return.