The sign of a great conference is plenty of notes and great memories.

I spent a week at a training event earlier this month and had a ball. I learned some great information, some new skills and gained the confidence to lead in an area I had previously felt apprehensive about.

It’s one of the reason I love conferences and seminars. They make me a better pastor. 

As I sat down and process through my training, I wanted to heed the advice I heard from many and not come home and expect the people I work with and the people I pastor to drink through a fire hose. Let me share them with you.

4 ways to get the most out of a conference

1. Take Great Notes.
I don’t care how you do it. As big as a fan of evernote as I am, I opted to go paper. It worked better with the information and let me pay more attention to the presenter. But let me tell you-I took TONS of notes.

2. Network.
One of the things I love about conferences is networking. I was lucky enough to spend several days around some great pastors from my annual conference. We laughed and shared plenty of stories. I learned lessons from them. It was great. I also made a couple of new friends.

When you go to a seminar, conference or training event make sure to take advantage of who is there. Do dinners with folks, after hours hangouts. Talk about what you are learning. Often times, other people have heard things differently and give great ideas. I often find these conversations are as beneficial as the actual training. Make sure to bring business cards (I didn’t) and get other peoples information. This is how great relationships and connections are forged.

3. Define takeaways    
Early in the post I talked about what I didn’t want to do. I know organizations dread when certain people come back from an event and decide to change everything. I kept that idea in the front of my mind. I set three takeaways for myself

What can I immediately implement (a personal goal)
What would be helpful for a quarterly goal?
What can I share/point a colleague towards?

4. Process later.
A few days after I got home I pulled my notes out. I took an hour and dropped them all into Evernote. This helped me look over things and digest it. It also let me organize it in a way I can quickly reference again. All of the information I learned is worthless if I can never find it.

I hope these lessons helped you. This was certainly one of the best conference experiences I have had and I think it was because of intentionality.