Getting the Most Out of Attending a Seminar or Conventions (Part II of II)

Posted on January 1, 2015 by

Roger SalamIn the previous article (if you missed it, see Part I), I mentioned about all the things you’ll need to do before and during attending a seminar to maximize the investment of your time and resources.  

However, that’s not enough. If you really want to capitalize (and I’m assuming you do, otherwise you’d not be reading this), you MUST implement these post seminar suggestions. Actually, these are more than just “suggestions” they are requirements to truly maximize the experience of being there.

1. What To Do With The Business Cards

I hope you collected tons of business cards (or exchanged contact information electronically) to expand your contacts and sphere of influence. Now what do you do with them? Stack them in some corner of your work desk at your office or home perhaps with the rubber band? No, that’ll not do. I hope you’ve some kind of contact management software (I use   Type them (preferably your assistant) into your contact manager or you can use a business card reader to make it faster. I give my stack of business cards (with notes on back) to my assistant and they go into my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software for follow up actions. On the back of the card, I write down where and when we met and anything that stands out about that person in the notes section of the contact.

2. Write Personal Thank You Notes

It takes a lot of time and effort to put on a seminar. Send a personal hand-written thank you note to the organizer and the speakers who worked tirelessly to add value to you. Who else you met deserves a thank you note? I usually write them on the plane ride back and mail it at the airport post office. If you don’t do it within 24 to 48 hours, you’ll not do this (statistically speaking). This is an investment in your new relationship and it’s not the same as a text or email thank you message.

I know it might require a bit of extra time and effort to write a hand-written note, but I promise you that if you do, you’ll stand out from the rest and they will never forget you. I’m so passionate about it that I wrote a book about the power of hand written personal thank you notes. Although nowhere nearly the same (in terms of impact), but do send out email thank you as it is better than nothing. I carry with me blank thank you cards and stamps whenever I travel. No excuses.

3. Review Your Notes Within 24 to 48 hours

I know you’re busy and have a lot to catch up when you get back after being away for few days at the seminar, but if you don’t carve out some time to review your notes within a day or so, you’ll not remember much. All the great notes you took will become great intentions and nothing else.

If you’ve taken hand-written notes on your note pad, this is a great time to type them up and review at the same time. This is not doing double the work, this act of rewriting the notes into your computer will help you go deeper into the material as you put them into your own words. Reviewing your notes and putting what you heard into your own words really helps you learn and use the information you took in.

If you’re not a good note-taker, then ask the other attendees (you met and exchanged cards with) to share their notes. You should do this even if you are a good note-taker and offer your notes in exchange. You’ll find out things that you missed that others picked up and vice versa.

4. Pull the Nuggets

As you’re reviewing your notes, ask yourself what are the top 3 to 5 things you got from the seminar. You may have taken copious notes and finished an entire notepad, but the truth is you’ll not remember three days of content from any seminar. Highlight the best nuggets which are your “Aha Moments” in the seminar. Try to internalize these gems into your personal and professional life to get the real impact from the seminar.

5. Ask the Expert!

When you attend a seminar, you’ll have so many questions.  So, don’t be shy – ask when you can!  However, I realize there are typically many people at seminars, and everyone has questions.  So, my best piece of advice for you is to sign up for the VIP program if one is offered. Oftentimes, you can pay a little extra to be a part of a small group that gets to spend more time with the speaker and ask questions one on one. 

A lot of times these types of programs also come with a follow-up coaching opportunity, too, so you can get answers to questions that arise when you return home and really process everything.  VIP programs are invaluable!  It’s so beneficial to have access to the speaker to be able to ask questions later on.  You get the inside story of how everything works, and this way you can really make the best use of everything you’ve learned.

6. Create a Plan of Action

All too often I’ve had people tell me that they are so overwhelmed with the amount of information they are getting that they have no idea where to start.

Here are a couple of ways to manage your information so you can implement what you’ve learned. The real lesson comes from implementation. From your notes (or the seminar manual), pull out the action items and create a “Master Action” list. Decide how you want to move forward with each item and then simply check them off once you’ve tackled them. What 3 things can you execute in the next week? Month? Quarter?

7. Find An Accountability Partner

This is a biggie if you’re serious about creating lasting success. In a way, I saved the best for last.   The reason this is the best idea is because it’ll increase the chance of implementing all the ideas I mentioned above exponentially. This falls into the new “inevitability thinking” category. How can you set up conditions and environment where the outcome that you’re after is inevitable? One of the best ways you can do that is to find an accountability partner with whom you’ll be doing all of the above things.   Make a commitment to each other to get it done and more importantly hold each other to a higher standard. Set up some fun “carrots and sticks” to the outcome (You’ll shave your head if you don’t or take her out to dinner when you accomplish by the deadline, etc).

Remember, you don’t have to do all of them by yourself, you can delegate (or outsource) as many as possible. Seminars can be a great way to learn the latest and greatest techniques, get motivated and build your network. Being prepared before you walk through the door will give you that extra edge that most will never get.

See you at the next event!

Roger Salam


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