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One of the biggest mistakes many business professionals make once they get back from a business convention, expo or conference, is not having a strategy in place to make the most of those miles traveled. You spend so much valuable time creating new potential relationships, only to see that time and effort go to waste. Not anymore. "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." I couldn't agree more.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Throughout your trip, keep track of certain ideas, tips, and any general knowledge you feel may be beneficial to your company or more specifically, your team or department. If you see certain handouts or brochures, don't just grab one, grab a few!
GIVE THEM SOME SPACE
People tend to get impatient when they get back from a business conference successfully compiling a nice prospect list in the process. I get it. But DO NOT reach out to them the day you get back, even the day after you get back. Sometime that next week is appropriate, not too soon, but not when the water has gone cold. Just keep in mind they have quite a bit on their plate when they get back as well, let them catch up first.
In the meantime...
1.) GET YOUR INBOX BACK TO - Inbox (0)
- Sometimes seeing that Inbox number is like waiting to see how you did on your Chemistry test as the teacher makes her way around class passing them out. I know you can keep up on your email with your phone, but take some time to read, organize, and act.
- Unless you are one of the top dogs at your place of employment, I'm guessing you probably didn't pay for all of this (some might have). With that said, take some time and reach out to those that approved you going. This can go a long way. Whether a friendly email, a quick stop into their office or just a "Thank You" in the elevator, it'll be worth it.
3.) CATCH UP
- Business Cards, Receipts, Expenses, etc. The list goes on of all the things you feel like you need to do when you get back. Take some time while everyone else unwinds as well and get yourself organized. Maybe you were in the middle of something before you left - finish up.
FULFILL YOUR DUTIES
Remember that guy who was like your best friend for an hour that you promised some ridiculous pricing point for? You guessed it. Time to act on those little promises and incentive grenades you tossed this past weekend.
Make a note/reminder on your phone right when the words come out of your mouth. Well, not right when they do, but pretty close. One more drink at the Happy Hour Meet-N-Greet you may not remember his name. Use funny little ways to remember people. If they are wearing a catchy bow-tie, write on the back of their business card "bow-tie."
One thing that goes a long way across any industry, no matter who you are working with, is keeping your word. Whether a simple email or an invite to an upcoming event, fulfilling your word earns trust and shows character.
DON'T TALK ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT
Now, it's time to get to work. The first few days returning from a business trip, it is very easy to talk a big game, but not really take any action. I realize I said not to reach out to anyone immediately when you get back, but that doesn't mean go into hibernation. Gather any notes, workshop info or presentations, even discussions or speeches given that you were able to record. Break this info down into 3 groups:
RIGHT NOW - Take care of all tasks that require immediate action (i.e. post-conference blog/forum posts, expense report from the trip, registering for upcoming events/conferences you learned about, follow-up emails, etc.)
NEXT MONTH - What new ideas or new habits would you like to establish? They say it takes a minimum of 21 days (at least 3 weeks) to form new habits, so let's set some goals to achieve these new habits. This could be a certain specific tool of the trade or even a mindset focusing on having more confidence in the workplace, etc. Forming new habits take effort, focus, and most importantly, time. Give it a month.
NEXT YEAR - Changing the overall process or routine in the workplace can be tough. I want you to write down a WANT, a NEED, and a MUST, that you will accomplish over the course of the year.