Does this sound familiar? You just finished an amazing trade show or conference. You have this feeling of euphoria from all of the new ideas you have heard. But then you get home, unpack all of those brochures, flyers, and business cards you collected, and then you collapse from exhaustion. Work has piled up so you focus on getting caught up on emails, voice mails, client appointments, etc. The brochures sit in a corner gathering dust, and your trade show notes go unread (and un-implemented). Another waste of time? It does not have to be that way.
Before You Leave the Show
While you are still attending the trade show or conference, and ideas are swirling around inside your head, write it all down. As you attend a session on marketing with social media, if an idea strikes you that you want to implement, jot it down. If you meet a supplier that you want to follow up with, make a note of it. Don’t trust your memory, thinking that you’ll remember everything after you get home. You will likely have a lot of ideas, and naturally you won’t remember them all if you don’t write them down. And remember, nothing is too insignificant. Anything you learn, think of, or want to test, write it down.
During Your Flight Home
If you did not fly to the show, set aside time YOUR FIRST DAY HOME to do this. Otherwise, while sitting in the airport and on your flight home, review your notes. Start a new page listing all of the ideas that you want to implement, follow up that you want to do, and then prioritize them and assign them dates. Some ideas you will want to implement immediately, others will need to wait for one reason or another (i.e. budget constraints). Do not try to do everything at once; otherwise you might burn out from the overload. Depending on how many ideas you want to try, spread them out, scheduling ideas one at a time weekly or even monthly.
Back at Home
When you get home you will have emails and voice mails backed up from the days that you were gone, and your instinct will be to jump back into work and get caught up. As you get back into the groove responding to clients, booking travel, etc., you will slowly forget about all those ideas from the conference that you wanted to implement. You can prevent this from happening by scheduling time on your calendar. Set aside 30 minutes every day, or maybe a two hour block once a week. Use this time to tackle that list you prioritized on your flight home. Resist temptations to cancel or reschedule these appointments with yourself; make your investment in attending the trade show pay off.
Find a Partner
Partner with another travel consultant, either someone from your agency or someone that attended the trade show with you. Keep each other on task by having a scheduled 15 minute phone call once a week. Keep it brief and on point. Share your goals and upcoming tasks, and on follow-up calls be accountable to your partner on what you have accomplished (and have your partner do the same with you).
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel (www.shipsntripstravel.com) located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations (www.kickbuttvacations.com) she focuses on travel for 18 to 23 year olds. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.