This past weekend I went to the Texas Style Council Conference for bloggers here in Austin. I had an amazing time and met too many wonderful women to count on two hands. I learned so much and am full of inspiration and grand plans for my blog. But I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that after such energizing events comes the crash. Creativity and determination fizzle in the face of everyday life.
I wanted to share some tips to help you harness that inspiration into real actions without getting overwhelmed.
Think of things in three categories:
Here’s how we’ll start.
Compile all of your notes and business cards you’ve collected in one place.
Tips to make compilation easier:
- While you’re at the event, keep all business cards you receive in the same place – back in your card holder, a section of your wallet, or a special pocket in your bag.
- Take all your notes in ONE notebook or, if you prefer digital note-taking, create a ‘Notebook’ in Evernote and start a new note for each session.
Read through your notes with a highlighter in hand. Simultaneously keep three lists:
- Actionable items: things that you would love to do, no matter how big or small
- Key takeaways: the most important tips and advice that you want to remember
- Resources: things you want to (eventually) look up: books, websites, e-newsletters, etc.
You don’t have to run immediately to the library or re-brand your entire website tomorrow, but it’s good to have all these ideas in one place.
Look at your list of actionable items (I like to call them suggestions) and prioritize the ones that you know you can do fairly easily. Also pick a few of the bigger things to tackle in the coming months. Side note: It’s ok if you never get to any of them. Remember, they’re suggestions.
4. Reach Out
I cannot stress enough the importance of reaching out to the people you’ve met post-conference. Even if you don’t think you’ll become BFFs or you think the person is “too good for your amateur self.” She’s not. People are always flattered that you took the time to say how much you enjoyed meeting them or that you found their session/workshop helpful.
First you should find a place to keep all this contact information. Here are two organizational ideas:
- Put the info into your Gmail contacts or
- Create a spreadsheet. Each tab of the spreadsheet can be for different events you go to.
Don’t forget to write a brief note next to each name so you remember what you talked about or any specific details you wouldn’t want to forget.
Then send over a quick email or request an invite to connect on LinkedIn and add a personal message. Here’s a basic template you can use:
Write out your basic “formula” in a Word document and turn the text red that you want to customize for each person. That way you won’t forget to change it.
Things to remember:
- Keep it short
- Reference something specific to her session or, even better, something you talked about WITH her
- It’s important to do this shortly after the event (maximum a week after) so that there’s a better chance she’ll remember you
- Don’t ask for a favor unless she already offered (i.e., “Great to meet you, would you mind giving my boutique a shout out on your blog?”)
- Don’t take it personally if she doesn’t respond
So that’s it! Now I have to go take my own advice…
What do you think? What have you done in the past to stay connected?