After Conference Hangover

So excited to begin implementing ideas, I actually arrived early to work the morning I returned from the conference. That's a big deal for me; I love to sleep and rarely choose to get up an earlier than I have to. But that morning was different. That week would be different. My JOB would be different. I was on fire.

The conference had been full of great topics, from sales to leadership, from marketing to financial analysis. My favorite sessions were the keynote and breakout session on marketing in our industry, hosted by the keynote speaker. He reminded me why I loved that class when I was going through my undergraduate business program. His excitement for the planning process, implementation, and follow up analysis was contagious; I couldn't wait to get back to work and start my own project!

That Monday, I sat down at my desk and penciled in time on my busy calendar to work on a formal marketing plan. Allowing myself 30 minutes to get started by looking at available online templates, I found myself selecting a simple but solid format and downloading it to my desktop. My boss walked in as I was saving it; he was surprised to see me already settled into my day, a bit earlier than usual. In an uneasy, suspicious, fake-happy tone:

What are you so happily working on first thing this morning?

"You know that break-out session I went to at the conference last week? The one on marketing plans and implementation? I'm working on a marketing plan for us, to formalize some of what I've been doing, and to make it easier to budget and analyze the success of what we're doing here. I've been so busy since I started, trying to build business, I completely forgot how important this tool can be!"

Why do we need a marketing plan? You should be pounding the pavement. Didn't we have this conversation, that you need to spend less time onsite and more time selling?

In less than ten seconds, my boss had me nearly deflated. I didn't give up, though, I just knew I was on the right track. Every time I had 15 minutes alone in the office, I worked on that marketing plan. I knew I needed the document to help me stay on track and see results in my efforts at that job. In my optimistic mind, when I presented the finished product to my boss, he'd appreciate it -- he'd realized why we needed it. I'll save the results of that work for another blog post; let's just say it wasn't pretty.

I tried to keep my enthusiasm that week and the next. Interactions with staff included some discussion of things I learned and ideas I wanted to share; some were motivated to work on them. Most just nodded and smiled, assuming the ideas would go away and they could get back to their routines without having to work too hard.

Within two weeks, I may as well have not gone to that conference at all.

Have you been to conferences that got you all excited, only to return to your routine and lose momentum within days or weeks? Why is that? Is it the conference itself, setting up unreasonable expectations? Is it your colleagues who didn't attend, who aren't motivated to step things up and improve?

How do we fix this?

I have an idea about that and I'm implementing it at the No Longer Virtual conference in February. Because the participation is limited to 50 people, every person will have the opportunity to meet the facilitators and other participants and truly connect. Think about the value of that roomful of advocates for you, your career, and your business. Participants will keep in contact via the No Longer Virtual Facebook group and via LinkedIn, solidifying not only the learning and motivation from the event itself, but the relationships that were built in those 48 hours.

Think about the opportunity. Think about the value. Can you afford to miss this?

Watch my enthusiastic interview about NLV with Chris Spurvey here: