Tell me if this has happened to you.
You go to an event and there's tons of information.
It’s data overload.
There is so much information being poured at you, you can't keep up with it.
You go back to your office after the event, but you’re not doing anything with the vast majority of the information because there was just too much to process.
We've all been there. But there are ways to organize that information and make sure you get the best out of that information-overload event.
Understand you’ll receive 3 different kinds of information.
The most important bits of information are the Action Items. These are specific things that you know you need to go do: register with this website, check out this software, etc.
This is good information to reference down the road. Something that might help you sort through your finances better or make an important decision somewhere down the road. A story you want to remember, an analogy you
These are verbal nuggets. Cool sentences that you can put on a sticky note up in your office to inspire you and motivate you throughout the year. These are something that could turn into a favorite mantra or a quote that will help push you and drive you to take yourself to the next level. Or just something awesome that might remind you to check in with your notes from the event!
Pick Colors Beforehand
A little cliche, but it’s super helpful in the long-run.
Pick different colors to note each kind of information…
The could be highlighters, pens, font colors, sticky notes. Just establish what colors and markers you want to use ahead of time.
Choose two different colors for action items: one color for Now, and one for Later. I use red and green: green are things that need to be done ASAP, red ones are ones that I want to do down the road once I’ve gotten the green ones knocked out. This helps to prevent overload when trying to implement things from the event.
A couple quick thoughts about action items:
- Put down some sort of marker next to action items you need clarification about. A big star or arrow next to something you want to ask a speaker about or get help with makes it easy to look back at your notes and remember exactly what you have a question about and where you need clarification on an action item.
- Look at whether or not this is something you need to be doing. Is it something that requires you to be involved, or could you delegate it to a team member? Use your team!
Your other information types can be whatever colors you like. I personally use purple for sound bites (because I like purple) and whatever color I have left to use (usually yellow or blue) is what gets used for reference points.
Knowing which colors to use before the event starts helping helps create organization in your notes all the way through the event, so that looking through them afterward is simple and easy.
Use Your Calendar Wisely
Before you even go into the event, do two things in your calendar.
However far out you feel you need to put it (I recommend not longer than a week), make a reminder to review your notes. The calendar event should just say “review notes from X Event.” This will help you go back and make sure you’re implementing the action items, remembering the reference points, and utilizing the motivation from the sound bites.
2: Accountability Meetings
This is perhaps the greatest key to successful implementation after a business event. Set up 3, non-negotiable, accountability meetings over the next 90 days. It’s best with a partner, but if you don’t have a partner and are willing to hold yourself accountable, being your own partner CAN work.
When it’s time for your meetings, have an honest conversation with yourself or your partner about whether or not you are doing the action items that you picked up from the event.
The key to this is that they are non-negotiable. You only need 3 at first because you can commit to 3 non-negotiable meetings. Make more down the road if you think it will help, but set up three at first to make sure you hold yourself accountable to work on your business rather than in it. (If you don’t know the difference, check out my blog on that here)
There are a lot of great events out there, but success comes from having a plan in advance for how you're going to process that information to make it stick.
If you aren’t already signed up for your next great event, check out the Grow Retreat. The Grow Retreat is the biggest event of the year for us! We just finished up Grow2020, but registration for Grow2021 is open! Book your interview for this phenomenal event here! (Yup, we're aware this link goes to the website for Grow2020. Don't worry, you can still book an interview and check out what this year's retreat was like!)
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!