3 Ways to Make the Most of Your ILEA Live Experience
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Image credit: Lauren B Photography
By Morgan Manghera
With ILEA Live 2019 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to absorb the fresh, innovative ideas and strategies you learned at the conference and apply them to your day-to-day work. However, after three jam-packed days of education and networking, it may seem a bit daunting to jump into this all at once. To help you collect your conference thoughts, ILEA Experience caught up with three ILEA members and past ILEA Live attendees to get a glimpse at how they make the most of their conference experience upon returning to their offices.
1. Get to know your notes.
At the end of conference, you most likely have pages of typed or handwritten notes from education sessions. How can you remember all that you learned and employ it in your next project? Kimberly Beaune, CSEP, CMP, Creative Twist Inc., says, “I always try to read over my notes a few times in the weeks following the conference so I remember the things that stood out to me and think of how I can relate them to what I am trying to accomplish personally and/or in my business.”
Another useful strategy: coming back to your notes a month after conference. “Make yourself a cup of tea and open your notebook with all those wonderful notes you took during the conference,” says Sarah Cissna, CSEP, The Side Lobby. “If you’re like me, that notebook might be tucked away, and the ideas are trapped inside — let them out! Remind yourself of what inspired you.”
Spending quality time with your ideas and takeaways from conference can help you tap into inspiration and, as Beaune notes, “reignite your passion for this industry.”
Ruth Wikoff-Jones, CSEP, One10, detailed a real-life example of how she plans to utilize her newfound ILEA Live education in her office. She explains, “Often, clients see us as a commodity to be purchased like a chair or table linen. This may be a rudimentary example, but it does get to the heart of the issue. What we continue to battle is the role we play in helping to decide which chair they use, that it's delivered on time, that there are enough of those chairs and that if the truck delivering the chair gets in an accident, we will find and get the chair to the place they need it without missing a beat. If that chair collapses, we have insurance to cover injury. And we come and remove that chair so they don't have to do it themselves. I know my company struggles with this issue, and we have been continually adjusting how we explain this to clients.”
At ILEA Live, Wikoff-Jones found solutions in how her peers are responding to this same issue, such as being comfortable with drawing a line when asked to reduce client fees. “The more of us that say no,” says Wikoff-Jones, “the more likely we are to be truly respected for our value beyond that chair.”
2. Keep in touch.
The best part of ILEA Live is connecting with acquaintances old and new during education sessions and social events … and then staying in touch after! “Book time on your calendar for that first day back in the office to follow up with all the awesome folks you met at ILEA Live,” Cissna says. “Send personal notes — especially to folks who deserve that extra ‘atta-girl/boy.’ Esprit Award and Spirit of Excellence Award recipients, I’m looking at you!”
Making new connections at conference can also aid in the journey to advance the live event industry. “I was able to connect with other live event professionals to brainstorm ways that we can change the dialogue,” Wikoff-Jones says. Collaboration with peers is a powerful tool in establishing and communicating the value of the profession.
Acknowledging your colleagues’ accomplishments can strengthen your relationships beyond conference time. “I do my outreach to people I connected or reconnected with to make sure that we stay in touch, because it is all about relationships,” Beaune says.
Also, staying in contact with your new connections can enhance your business. Beaune shares, “I have made other relationships with people who have helped me structure my business and some who are now giving me business and bringing me in as a collaborator. That never would have happened had we not met, learned, laughed and partied together at ILEA Live.” So, send that follow-up email, write that card, and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. Your ILEA global community is your strongest asset!
3. Share with your colleagues.
“Each year I’ve attended ILEA Live, there has been at least one element that I was able to bring back to my company that influences the way we work or who we work with for the upcoming year,” Wikoff-Jones says. “This year was no exception.”
When you return to your office, it’s no secret that your colleagues are looking forward to hearing the amazing new things you learned at conference. However, before catching up on everything you missed while you were away and getting your colleagues up to speed, Cissna suggests, “Keep your calendar clear on the first day back in the office … Keep your out of office message on for that first day back; it gives you some buffer time to sort through email and anything that’s piled up on your desk.”
Once you catch up on your email inbox, turn your attention to your team. Present what you learned to your team, and share resources like links and handouts. One way to highlight your most impactful conference discoveries is to make a list of five takeaways within a week of your return so that your colleagues can share in your inspiration.
Additionally, Beaune uses her time at conference to refocus her vision for the future of her business while looking out for her colleagues along the way. “I try to make sure that I make a connection for someone else to help them achieve their goals,” she says.
After an inspiring conference, it is important to first recharge before reconnecting with all of the fresh knowledge that you took home. Review your notes in the weeks and months following the event, stay in touch with your ILEA community and share your conference experience with your team. These strategies will have you making the most of your experience and staying inspired long after the conference has concluded.
Morgan Manghera is an editorial associate for ILEA.
Tags: ILEA Live , ILEA Live 2019 , conference , education