Have you ever sat through a seminar or conference and either been so rapt with attention at all the new knowledge or frustrated because you keep thinking “I already knew that!”?
There are several things I’ve learned over the years about how I best process information that I thought I would share. A lot of this will be somewhat of a “duh” factor for you, or it might help you think of your own processing technique!
I plan on attending Captivating Heart in October. This is a faith-based event for women that talks about our identity in Christ. For more information visit captivatingheart.com
I’ve learned that I have to take notes. Profound, I know. This means not recording or just going off of a handout, no matter how thorough the handout might be. I need to make notes of what a given topic means for me or added thoughts that the speaker might say or questions that get asked. I’ve also learned that when I record something, I don’t usually listen to it again. If I take written notes, I can easily go find the one or two pieces of information I need in a given moment. I’ve tried typing notes into my phone or a laptop and I just focus better if I take good old-fashioned, hand-written notes.
How I take notes (the format) varies on why I am there, interestingly enough. I fill notes for news stories with sound bites and summarized thoughts. Notes for personal gain are filled with trying to capture the presentation with personal reflections written off to the side that indicate what it means for me.
Digesting the information
I attended SoFabCon in May, which was a great conference for bloggers and brands to learn together.
After I attend a conference or session, and even throughout the event, I usually categorize information in my head in four ways:
Information I already knew
I’ve heard people make comments that hearing information they already knew or believed was a waste of time but I respectfully disagree. I like hearing information repeated, especially at a professional conference, because it validates my knowledge and tells me that it still rings true. It also makes me feel less overwhelmed to know that I’m not having to absorb all new information. This happens a lot to me in regards to learning about basic SEO or about blog writing techniques.
Information I already knew but heard a new way to think about it or explain it
WordCamp Fayetteville is a great event for bloggers, developers and businesses. It’s all about WordPress.
Ever hear information that you technically knew, but the way the speaker phrased enhanced your understanding or somehow made you think differently? I usually find this true in personal development conferences, especially when it comes to talking about setting priorities and boundaries.
Brand-new information that I need to apply
I’m attending Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged this September. It’s a conference for women bloggers who live in Arkansas.
Most the time we attend conferences to learn something new, right? I love it when I learn something new, especially if it solves a problem I’ve been having. I don’t know about you, but sometimes implementing the changes once I get home is the toughest part. This is true for me right now when it comes to incorporating more videos in my personal and professional blogs. I try to set goals for implementing the new knowledge and when I hope to see some kind of results. Otherwise it will never get off the back burner.
Brand-new information that does not apply to me at this time
Sometimes we hear something new but it just doesn’t mean much. I don’t discount the information, I just mentally file it under “might help a client or me in the future.”
What ways do you process conference information? Share in the comments!