September 22, 2014

After the Conference

(Originally posted to Medium on 9/22/14.)

I just got back from CocoaConf Las Vegas. I’m still riding the high.

I really enjoy going to conferences. I get to be in a different place, learning new things, and refreshing known things. I get to meet new people and reconnect with once-a-year-ish friends. I am reinspired to build new habits, try out new skills, be a better team member, a better software tester, a better human.

And then I go back to the real world. I’m a little short on sleep, a little behind on laundry, a lot behind on email. (There are HOW MANY bugs assigned to me?) I scramble to catch up and fall back into routine. And the conference high evaporates. The resolutions fade.

How can I hang on to the Conference High? I’ve got a few ideas, and thought I’d share the list with you too.

  1. Thank the person/organization that sent you. If your team professional development budget paid your conference dues, thank your manager. Tell them (or maybe your whole team) what you learned on your trip. These things will make it easier to get funding next time and maybe get your teammates to join you.

  2. Follow up on the business cards. Someone probably handed you a card and said Please contact me so we can…” Do it now, before you forget why you have these cards.

  3. Skim your notes for action items. Maybe you wrote down a product you want to investigate, or scribbled a presenter’s email so you can ask the question there wasn’t time for in the session.

  4. Pick something to do better next conference. Pack comfier shoes. Drink more water. Make pre-conference dinner plans with another attendee. Stick a note in your suitcase, or on your calendar on the day you’d pack for the trip, so you remember.

  5. Pick something to do before the next conference. Start blogging. Write a talk proposal. Research something you learned about at the conference. And now I can cross re-start blogging” off my list!