2 Arrive early to snag a good seat.
Contrary to the “fashionably late” theory,
dawdling attendees may be relegated to
the back of the room or stand throughout the duration of the class. Having a
few minutes to spare before the session
begins will allow you to network and introduce yourself to the person to your left
and to your right.
3 Take detailed notes. Capture those
valuable “nuggets” that will serve your
job and company well long after the conference ends. The scope of notes may
resemble the following: resources to explore, ideas and projects triggered, and
people with whom to connect and follow
up. Additionally, taking notes keeps your
“head in the game” by engaging more
than one of your senses.
4 Collect those handouts. When you
return to the hotel room, cull through the
handouts marked as “keepers,” and those
with less relevance or usefulness.
5 Pack business cards. If you connect
with a potential client or business partner
during a reception, breakout session, or
lunch, then you will want to be able to exchange business cards.
6 Keep a running written list of “action
items” during the conference to facilitate
a game plan upon returning to the office.
When you get back to the daily grind,
follow up; designate a specific day (not
necessarily your first day back) to review
the action item list. Transfer each action
item onto your daily task list or, if you
use MS Outlook, your list of future calendared tasks.
7 Use breaks to network. Avoid the
temptation to scan phone messages, place
calls, and check email. Those tasks can be
handled virtually anywhere. However, this
golden opportunity to confer face-to-face
with other claims professionals is fleeting.
Use breaks to meet people, exchange business cards, chat up new acquaintances, or
reconnect with existing contacts.
8 Pace yourself. Manage your, ahem,
“nocturnal activities.” This means to be
sensible and realistic about your diet, alcohol consumption, and sleep requirements.
9 Build in a “recovery day.” The first
day back is not “just another work day.”
There will be backlogged emails to which
you will respond, along with extra paperwork to address, decisions to make, and
so on. For all of your self-discipline and
VALUE TO UPPER
Let’s face it. Many companies and
bosses are skeptical of off-site training
and conferences. Budgets are under
scrutiny. Upper management always
wonders just how value-added the
conference was, especially given the
lost productivity away from the office.
Taking the initiative—without being
asked—to share what you learned helps
blunt this perception and may better
position you to gain acceptance of future
requests to attend other conferences.
Follow these tips:
E Share what you have learned.
E Type notes or have them transcribed.
E Share useful handouts with coworkers.
E Save a copy of useful handouts to your
hard drive for future reference.
planning, you will be playing “catch-up.”
Minimize certain commitments, such as
meetings and conference calls on your
first day back. Build in some time to catch
up. Remember this caveat: bosses and clients take precedence over this “recovery
day” preference. So if the boss (or a client) wants you in a meeting or a conference call first thing in the morning on the
day you return from a conference (or a
vacation), then just suck it up and do it.
J Draft a one-page memo of takeaways from the conference. Share a copy
with the boss and co-workers. Do this,
even if your boss has not asked you to do
so. It shows initiative.
Many conferences are annual events. If
the conference is valuable, and you want
to attend again, then check the dates for
next year’s event. Mark those dates on the
calendar. Also, factor in conference expenses when drafting next year’s budget.
Get it in the request hopper to boost the
odds that you can attend again.
As for all of those business cards one
amasses, transfer the information from
them into your contacts database, whether
that is Outlook, a Rolodex, or just a tabbed
notebook. Make a note as to when and
where you met each person. Follow up
with a brief, polite email to each, express-
ing gratitude for having met him or her. If
there are business development possibili-
ties, then calendar a reminder to follow up
with a phone call, an email, or a visit.
Kevin Quinley is the principal of Quinley
Risk Associates. He has helped thousands of claims professionals increase
their effectiveness and productivity.
Visit his blog, The Claims Coach, at
http://claimscoach.blogspot.com. He may
be reached at www.kevinquinley.com;