Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Building in time to process

SOBcon table
At SOBCon, we work together to build our businesses. Photo by Elja Daae
Just back from one of my favorite annual events (SOBCon), and I'm trying to make sure I don't just stuff my notes in a folder and forget about them. I'm planning some time today to think and process.
  • I held a phone call with a friend who happened to be attending a major conference of his own. We shared our takeaways and thoughts as he was driving home and I was waiting to head to the airport. 
  • I did some processing and thinking on the plane. I copied notes into the paper handbook from the conference. I copied ideas and actions into my personal notebook. Why copy over by hand? Because that act of re-writing gave me a chance to re-think and refine. 
  • Today I'll take those goals and action ideas and turn them into specific things to do and put them into my system. I'll add some things to items to do this week, and others on the waiting list. 

One new attendee said she knew she had a three hour drive home, and she couldn't do much work there. Then once she's home, it's right back into all the regular things that need done.

One person who has attended several times said he usually takes five or six weeks before he digests the lessons from the event. He doesn't set aside special time for it.

My friend that I called said he had set aside special time on the morning after the conference and before his drive home to do his review. BUT the night before, he sat down and made goals and a plan for what he would be thinking about. If he hadn't, he said, he knew he'd waste that time on unfocused activity.

When I mentioned this need to Kyle Golding, he said if you built time to review and process into an event, people would just use the "extra" time to review and check their phones, social media, text, basically wasting it.

Meeting organizer Liz Strauss said people would skip review time and do their own thing. They would see it as "non-content time" and therefore less valuable.

I'm thinking there is some way to make this work.
  • Build a 1.5 hour time slot into the very end of your event. 
  • Label it as something people will value. (The most effective label would depend on the group.)
  • Have a facilitator lead a short (15 minute?) session to help people set their goals for the review. 
  • Let people self-organize into small groups or work on their own. 
  • Turn off the conference wifi. (That's just mean, but you know it reduces temptation. And if people really need online, most can use their phones. Or make a separate zone or room with wifi available.) 

I'd love to hear about any events that plan for time to plan your "re-entry." 

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