If you are like me, when certain events end, it is a bittersweet time. You’ve enjoyed your time with people you consider family, got to learn some new things to help your career, and hopefully have made new connections that will last maybe even a lifetime.
Today marks the last day for PASS Summit 2019. The time has come for us to stay good-bye and begin our journey home. Some of us might have already left to distant shores, some are still sticking around. As we start to round out the day in Seattle, Washington, here are some tips to think about as you wind down from the conference.
I often take a lot of notes while at conferences. They aren’t organized very well and sometimes are just a jumbled mess. I have found using applications such as OneNote or Evernote has helped me over the years to be more organized with my note taking, but even then, sometimes they are just out of whack.
Once you get back to your place of origin, make sure to schedule some time to go back through your notes while things are fresh in your mind. I recommend within a week of getting back to your normal schedule (for me it’s Monday morning following the conference), go back through your notes and reorganize them if needed.
Reorganizing them will help you later when you need to find things or need to make sense of what you were trying to capture. Clarify any questions you might have jotted down or start those conversations on things you know you wanted to follow up on.
In my opinion, one of the greatest values from the annual PASS Summit is the networking. I can fully and without question say that I am where I am currently in my career due to the networking I did at previous PASS Summits. I distinctly remember being involved in a technical conversation with folks like Chris Shaw and Steve Jones while simultaneously being amazed that I was even in the conversation. Over the years, I’ve had several of these types of encounters and they have been instrumental in my growth.
If you found yourself in one of these types of situations, I hope you got contact information of the individuals who might be in the conversation. If not, next time this happens make sure you get a phone number, a business card, or an email address and file them away accordingly.
You never know when those contacts will come in handy. Not only have I been able to expand my own career through them, I’ve been able to help solve enterprise problems with the help of those contacts as well as drive database technology forward in the organizations I’ve worked for.
Share What You’ve Learned
Not everybody on your team can probably attend the conference. Someone has to stay back and keep the lights on most of the time. I am a huge fan of the USB stick that you can purchase. This USB stick has all of the regular sessions on it and it’s not a horrible cost (not thousands of dollars) and it is a great way to share content among your teammates.
If you have a team back at the office eagerly awaiting your return to take the on-call pager, take some time to schedule a knowledge sharing meeting. It doesn’t have to be long, but you can pass along what you’ve learned during your time at the conference. By doing this, you’ve also helped your organization get additional ROI from sending you. Down the road this could potentially ensure you get to go back as your manager will know that you’ll share knowledge which helps the company in the long run.
Now that you’ve cleaned up your notes, did some knowledge sharing and touched based with some of your new contacts, take some time and look towards the future. What technology do you need to research to help your organization move forward? Who do you need to engage to drive that new solution? Also, inventory on your career path and see what might excite you. Do you need to move in that direction? Is that a shift from what you’ve been doing? If so, then start working towards that.
Planning for the future doesn’t have to be an intensive, long drawn out thing. Set some goals, both personally and organizationally, and start making steps towards those goals.
The future is yours to command so don’t squander it.
Finally, take some time to relax and unwind. I’m a mix of an introvert/extrovert but I like being home in my own space with my own things. Conferences can be hard and tiring while at the same time exciting and renewing. Make sure you take some time to decompress and spend time with your family. Remember that your family supported you by having you gone for the duration of the conference. Any time I travel I can’t wait to get back to my kids and see how they have grown during the time that I was gone. They never fail to surprise me.
Any conference can be exhausting but what you do with the information after you leave is up to you. Remember that one you learn something, it is yours to do whatever you’d like to do with it and nobody can take that away from you. Share what you’ve learned, clean up your notes, reach out to some of the contacts you made, look down the road at bit, and relax.
Safe travels to all of those headed home far and near! See at the next conference!
© 2019, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.