The 18th Annual HR Technology Conference wrapped last Wednesday and I’m already missing all the people I connected with. I’m taking lots of steps to keep those relationships going and how I can help others. Regardless if you attend a conference as part of a group, or if you’re there on your own, the importance is what you do with the information you learned and how you apply it all when you get back to the day-to-day grind.
7 Key Steps to Take When You Return from a Conference
- Go through all the business cards you collected and send out connection requests via LinkedIn. Networking and making connections is one of the largest benefits of conference attendance. I know we sometimes think business cards are an out-of-date item, but I personally came back with a huge handful and I make sure to follow up with each person in some way. Definitely worth your time to reinforce those in-person connections and build relationships.
- Send a thank you note to any speaker you saw that made a difference in the way you think. As a speaker at HR Tech and other conferences, I can tell you that people prepare for weeks or months to present. Acknowledging their hard work is a nice way to make them feel appreciated for the time they spent with you. Whether it’s a tweet, email or LinkedIn note, it means so much to the speaker. Also, if you have any direct feedback for that person, share it. We don’t always get the evaluations so hearing what we did well or what you’d like to see more/ less of is helpful for their next presentation.
- Write a summary for your boss on the value of attending. Many employers do not understand the value of learning at a conference. Make sure to spell it out. This is key whether you are in a corporate position, you work for a solution provider or you’re there on your own. I work for myself now, but I made sure to write a summary of the value so that I can compare it year-over-year as I decide which events to keep attending.
- Follow people who tweeted using the #HRTechConf hashtag. Having a list of people in the HR space at your finger tips is invaluable. Be sure to solidify those connections on Twitter.
- Give feedback to HR Tech (LRP). Hopefully you filled out session surveys or other conference surveys. If not, tweet them or go to The HR Technology Conference group on LinkedIn and leave feedback. They work hard each year to pull this together, so share what really worked well and any suggestions for improvement.
- Send thank you notes to any vendor or HR pro you met that you want to keep in touch with. This is an extra step. A personal note is certainly a way to stand out and make yourself memorable to that person.
- Share pictures. Who know that HR pros could be so fun? Use social networks to share your pictures. Speakers love to have pictures of themselves presenting, share the fun ones from charitable events and of course, the real “social” nightlife.
So there you have it- ways to wrap up an event and continue the value. What do you do when you return home from a conference? Share your story in the comments.