Now that AWP is over, it might be helpful to have a few actionable steps to follow up from the conference. I know I am completely overwhelmed after a conference, especially one the size of AWP, so it’s nice to have a list of things I need to do moving forward. Here are a few steps to take after a conference to help get the ball rolling.
- Sort through your business cards- right after the conference when people and conversations are still fresh in your mind, sort through your business cards. Make piles of different types, like those you want to work with right now, those you had a fun connection with, or those you only took to be polite. These batches will help when you reach out to these new contacts.
- Reach out to your new contacts- Whether you scored big by connecting with a top editor, or you don’t really know why you spoke to them at all, you need to reach out to these new contacts. Use the batches you made before and draft email templates based on your conversations and connections. No matter what you need to reach out and let these new contacts know you appreciated their conversation and to further instill in their minds that you are valuable, prompt, and will stay in contact.
- Compile your notes from sessions- There’s so much going on during a conference: learning knew techniques, meeting new people, possibly visiting a new city, and doing it all with less sleep than usual and much more stress. After a conference you need to compile your notes to better make sense of what you learned. This could be the difference between retaining this new knowledge and merely having heard it.
- Reassess your goals- Once you’ve gone over what you’ve learned and had time to think about the people you met and connections you made, you should reassess your goals. Maybe you’re right on track and this reassessment will further push you along. Or maybe you need to completely overhaul what you want. Either way, now is the time to take a look at your goals.
- Create an action list– Now that you’ve looked at your goals, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and make it into a plan. Make a list of the necessary steps you’ll now need to take to reach your new goals. Do it now while you are still motivated from the conference and all that you’ve learned is still fresh in your mind.
- Take a day off– After a long, wonderful, but stressful conference you need to relax. Take a day to yourself, do something away from writing and work and get rejuvenated. Then start work fresh the next day with the new tools you’ve gained from the conference. A conference can be great for creating new goals or obtaining new partnerships but none of that will be of any use if you burn yourself out. This day off will be a way to clear your mind and ready yourself for the hard work ahead.
- Create new content- Start fresh and create something new with all of the information you’ve gathered. You need to do this right away after your short relaxation day. This makes sure that you keep up the motivation that you gained at the conference and actually use all that you’ve learned. The new content will set you on a path forward.
Do you follow any of these steps? Or what are some other things you do after a conference?
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Mackenzie Jervis is a Summer 2016 Graduate. She lives in Texas with her husband, two cats, and puppy. She has way too many books, more cameras than she knows how to properly use, and a never ending need to keep moving. She write about her life and adventures at home and around the world at A Wandering Scribbler.