Five Ways to Bring the Learning Home

Leaders are learners, and learners are leaders. The world moves much to quickly to assume that what you learned in business school or seminary 15—or even five—years ago will keep you current.

If you want to get ahead and stay ahead, you must continue learning. One of the best ways to do that is by attending conferences where you can hear from the top voices in your field.

If you’re like me, even a one-day conference can leave you overwhelmed with input. How do you make the most of that valuable time and ensure that the best ideas come home with you?

Here are the things you must do to profit from a leadership conference.

  1. Go in with a Plan

As soon as you have the conference itinerary, choose the sessions that you’ll attend. You can’t attend every workshop, so ensure that team members visit a variety of sessions and share the learning. Don’t forget to plan some downtime in multi-day events.

  1. Take Notes

Taking notes greatly increases the retention of facts and ideas. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tablet or handy electronic gear for note taking. Pen and paper will do. The simple act of writing heightens your attention, improves your memory, and causes good ideas to rise to the top.

  1. Network with Attendees

There is expertise on the platform, but there is experience at the lunch table. Use your break time to dialogue with attendees, who are likely bumping up against the same problems you are. Ask, “So what’s been your best takeaway so far?”

  1. Process with Staff

On the ride home or shortly after, drill down the learning with your team. What did you hear that motivated you? What did you learn? What ideas do you have for improving our organization? If we could only implement one idea from this conference, what would it be?

  1. Implement Change

Don’t leave your conference notes on the shelf. Turn them into one or more goals that will improve your work. Remember to make them specific, measurable, and time-bound.

What’s your best idea for maximizing a leadership conference? I’d love to hear your ideas on Twitter or Facebook!