Keeping On Top of Everything You’ve Learned.

We all go to seminars, conferences, lectures, and training events, full of excitement at the information with which we’re going to fill our notebooks and minds. But what do you do with all that stuff? How do you implement ideas you’ve learned at events? How do you make the new inspiring ideas a reality?

Last week, I attended the Inbound Conference in Boston. And I learned an awful lot. Almost too much. I spent six or seven hours a day learning stuff, for four days solid. If each talk was forty-five minutes long and I took roughly eight pages of notes for each talk, I’ll let you work out how much stuff I wrote down.

But now, arriving home, what happens now? Usually, I’m ready to bet, we close the notebook and quietly forget about it amongst all the other notebooks of the same kind. Sometimes, maybe, we might even say to ourselves, ‘ah, I really must look back into that’ – but maybe we never do.

Whilst that’s normal, it’s a shame. Because the purpose of these events is to learn and then actually implement our ideas. The irony is that, usually, the better the conference, the more notes we take, the less likely it is we do anything with them.

So, with my recent experience in mind, here’s a five-point plan of how to implement ideas you’ve learned at events. Let’s put all this enthusiasm and expertise to good use.

1 – Intention.

Before you even look back at those notes, you need to think again about your intention. What is it that you want to do with your business? What is your goal? Why did you go to this conference in the first place?

The conference I’ve just been to was all about marketing. So, let’s take an example from that.

Say I want to grow the number of customer leads. This, right now, is my driving intention. This is going to be the lens through which I look back through all those notes. Without this, you aren’t going to get any value from the next step.

2 – Insights.

It’s now that you turn back to that almost scary, scribble-strewn notebook.

With your intention in mind, you are going to do a breakdown of everything that resonated with you. Clearly, these will be the things that you’ve written down.

If your intention is to grow your customers, you’re going to have notes on lead generation, funnel emails, calls to action, and engagement rates. Great, but you’re going to have to find a way to make sense of all this before you start to implement ideas you’ve learned.

So, get mind-mapping. As David Allen says, get it all out of your head: your head is for having ideas, not holding them. Group and organise your thoughts on paper and you will find that things naturally form an order as you work though your list.

Sieve it all down so it fits on one page. What is on this page will be directly relevant to your business and to your intention – and should answer that question, how will I grow my customer leads?

3 – Identifying.

You have now a page of directly relevant material. A miracle after the messiness of the notebook.

For all the insights that you have specified, you now need to prioritise. You need to identify the most important, the most urgent, and the most effective. I like to use two terms to navigate these priorities: impact and influence.

Changes with a big impact are those that are going to provide you with a positive feedback loop: they are going to have an immediate effect on your life or work. They’ll make you feel good and get you immediately closer to your goal, spurring you on to the next.

Those that are highly influential, meanwhile, are going to make future steps/actions/improvements easier. They are going to make it more straightforward to make effective changes later.

Your priorities should be determined by these two factors. I usually score them each out of 3 (1 = low and 3 = high), then multiply them together. The highest score are your actions to start on first, then sequentially work through the list once these are complete.

4 – Implementation.

At this point, we come to the question of how you implement ideas post-conference.

However, these tasks are going to fit into two categories. They’ll be one-off tasks and habitual routines.

If you want to grow your customer leads, the actions, identified in step three, are going to be implemented in different ways. You might set up a sales funnel or a new advertising campaign. These would be one-off tasks. Or, you might decide to dedicate half an hour everyday to extend your reach on social media. This would be a habit routine.

Obviously, they are not mutually exclusive. However, what you do need to do is plan – and this is the last step.

5 – Integration.

To successfully implement ideas, you need to think carefully about how and when you are going to integrate these changes into your life or work.

Where so many people go wrong is they try and do too many things at once. Gradual introduction of a few at a time is the key.

In my experience, consistency works best. Yet, it requires the sort of discipline that all new habits require. Identify a cue, this can be a time of day, after another action etc. but make sure it is specific. You need to ensure that you respond to that particular cue in that particular way with a routine you have identified in this process. And, then when you have finished your ‘routine’, you need to remember reward yourself  as this reinforces the habit and makes you more likely to repeat it next time. Slowly but surely you begin routinely executing on your ideas and they become reality.

Conclusion: Knowing How to Implement Ideas.

Conferences and events have the potential to change your life and business. But that potential is only fulfilled when you know how to avoid information overwhelm and implement the things you’ve learned successfully.

This strategy has helped me hugely – and I hope it helps you too.