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You open your email to find a notice about an upcoming seminar or workshop on a topic you desperately want to learn more about.
Later that day, you get the mail and there's a postcard inviting you to the same workshop.
"Should I go?" you think.
"It's expensive, I'll have to pay for airfare and hotel, but I'll learn *so much* and will really be able to propel my business forward," you say to yourself.
After much wrangling between those two guys that sit on each of your shoulders, you decide to go for it. You tell your clients you'll be gone, you buy the plane tickets, book the hotel, pay the workshop fee and you're excited!
The day finally arrives. You can hardly wait. You get a seat and wait for things to start.
By the second hour, your head is brimming with ideas while your stomach is full of coffee. You desperately want a break and can't focus on anything else.
The break comes and goes and now you are starved. "WHEN is lunch anyway?" you hear yourself asking your neighbor.
After wolfing down something which the hotel is convinced passes for food, it's back to the workshop. Now the carb crash comes and you need a nap — the speaker is very interesting, but hey, you're getting the seminar CDs and will catch up on anything you miss then.
Does this sound familiar? I've been to three workshops/seminars in the past two months and have watched this scenario unfold for HUNDREDS of people — again and again.
It's critical you have a system in place to insure you get the most out of each and every seminar and workshop you attend — after all, you're spending your money AND time attending.
1. Bring a notepad.
Insure you have either a notepad or notebook dedicated ONLY to "Action List" items.
This is not a "To Do" list — "to do" lists sound like work and generally lower your energy. This is an "Action" list — completing these items will propel your business forward.
Personally, I put a small box next to each item that I can check off as it's completed. I don't number them as these are not in priority order. The order is based on when the item pops into my head.
2. Bring a notebook.
You should have ONE notebook for ALL your seminars and workshops. This is for your "Notes" — if the presenter provides you with a handout of his presentation, GREAT, you can take notes directly on it.
If not, however, you'll want to keep all your notes in this notebook — start the section with the seminar name, location and date and note each speaker's name and presentation title and any notes from it.
Notes, NOT action list items. . .action items go on your Action List. It's important to keep them separate so you don't need to search through pages of notes for your action items.
Always remember: It's not what you know that matters; it's what you IMPLEMENT!
3. Bring plenty of business cards.
You'll be amazed at how many people forget to bring business cards with them when attending workshops.
Always insure you have plenty of cards with your current information and, preferably, a picture of you on it. We meet so many people at seminars; you want to insure people remember you when going through their new stack of cards at home.
4. Take a day.
If possible, take a day or 1/2 day when you get home to unpack, get back in the swing of things and take a good look at your Action List.
Are there items which can be done in 10 minutes or less? If so, identify those items and schedule an hour for each group of 5 activities over the next week (this allows a little extra time). This will insure you make steady progress soon after the seminar.
Do you have bigger projects? No sweat, break them down into smaller chunks — 30 minutes at most — and schedule them on your calendar.
By scheduling these activities *on your calendar*, you'll have a start and end time for getting them done and insuring you got the most out of your time at the workshop.
Chances are you've met new friends and potential clients.
Now's the time to drop them a brief note and let them know you're happy to have met them and follow-up with any information you may have promised.
And, remember, if appropriate for you, thank the speaker for the seminar and all you learned.
Your Coaching Challenge
Your coaching challenge for this week is to prepare a "Seminar Toolbag" which includes a notepad, notebook, business cards, two pens and anything else you may need.
Here's what's in my Toolbag (a bag I take to all seminars) in addition to the above: granola bars, lip balm, post-its, tissues, peppermint patties, a digital camera and since I'm not a coffee drinker, my favorite tea bags.