You've just invested your precious time in a project management symposium, conference, or training class. Congratulations on being proactive in your project management development. But how can you take action after a symposium to obtain the full benefits of your learning?
Here's the problem we all face when attending a project management symposium. Things at work don't stop, do they? More emails and voicemails have arrived. New problems have popped up. It can take days to recover.
But, if we fail to take action from the symposium soon, we forget what we've learned. Our motivation to change wains. And our personal growth—that we so badly want—does not occur.
It's frustrating, isn't it? You've gained some new knowledge to advance your career. How can you review and reinforce your learning? What's the trick of transforming your newly gained knowledge into powerful skills?
"Don't fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today." —Michael Hyatt
First of all, make it a priority. Schedule one to two hours to review what you have learned. Some of you may be thinking—I'll just do it when I get time. Don't kid yourself. As Michael Hyatt says, "What gets scheduled is what gets done."
You don't have to do this the day after the symposium. But schedule time within three to four days. Find a time when you're not super busy, maybe early in the morning or a lazy Saturday afternoon. And do this in a quiet setting where there are no distractions.
Review your notes and handouts from the project management symposium. Make a list of activities that you wish to undertake. Next, prioritize the list. Identify two to three vital actions you will take in the next two weeks. Now, schedule (yes, schedule) these activities.
Here's another way to identify and prioritize your actions—discuss the symposium with others who attended. Furthermore, you can have another individual to check in with you in the next few weeks to ask how things are going. This social approach and accountability is powerful. Give it a try.
Brainstorm Development Activities
Struggling to identify your activities? Your activities will be dependent on the topics presented at your symposium. Allow me to provide some examples I identified from the PMI Palmetto Chapter Symposium where I spoke and participated. I've noted the speaker after each idea.
You've just met several project managers from other organizations. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Continue the conversation beyond the symposium. How can you build these relationships?
If you are PMI certified, be sure to report your Professional Development Units (PDUs). Why not do this while it's fresh on your mind? Otherwise, you'll find yourself at a loss a year or two later when you are trying to remember the topics and the category for each (see the PMI Talent Triangle):
Speakers make or break project management symposiums and conferences. Finding the right speaker with the right message for your audience is essential for successful events. If your audience includes project managers, risk managers, or individuals looking for ways to improve their leadership and productivity, you are in the right place.