8/31/10

What Happened in Vegas Shouldn't Stay in Vegas

[Guest Blogger Ayelette Robinson]

It continues to amaze me just how good ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) conferences are. With hundreds of truly high-quality sessions, and networking opportunities live and virtual galore, each conference is bound to give you a professional high. This year’s conference, held at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, was no exception. Indeed, I'm still returning to earth after a week so rich with knowledge exchange that I find myself struggling with the same question I face every year:  How do I retain all I learned? How do I implement all those ideas that sound so good, in a way that really affects what I do?  I’ve come up with a few ideas that I share below, and I hope that some of these will resonate with you and help you take what you learned in Vegas and implement it back at home.

Before I get into my list, however, I would like to emphasize that under no circumstances should you attempt to implement everything you learned. Unless you have 50 clones of yourself showing up to work every day, it will simply be an impossible mission. You went to an average of 4 sessions a day over 4 days, with a conservative average of 2 speakers a session; that means over the past year it took 32 people, plus their entire teams, to implement just the ideas you heard in sessions; this doesn't include all the sessions you didn't attend but read about in blogs and tweets and heard about at lunch and at drinks on the strip.

As a reminder of the sheer volume of knowledge shared at the conference, click the links below:

         #ILTA10 Tweets (thanks to Natalie Huha at LegalersWelcome for aggregating this list)
        Live Interviews on ILTA TV (thanks to Shy Alter at ii3 for bringing these interviews to attendees and non-attendees alike)

With so much information shared throughout the week, how do you remember the takeaways that struck a chord with you?

Here is my personal post-conference ‘to do’ list:
1.        During morning coffee and commute the week after conference, review my notes from the conference.
2.        When I see something that makes me go "aha" write it down on a 'Conference Aha' list (goal: compile a list much shorter than my notes; maybe 5-10 bullets).
3.        Pick one (just one!) takeaway that I will weave into my projects this week.
4.        Put the list of 5-10 bullets into a calendar invite that repeats every Monday morning for the next few weeks, to remind me of the new things I should be thinking about as I get back into my projects.
5.        Put the same full list into a calendar invite that repeats every 3 months, as a quarterly reminder of my favorite takeaways from the conference (note: I might need to adjust the list with enhancements & modifications as I try new things and realize what will and won't work for my organization).
6.        Attend my local ILTA Post-Conference Recap event, and share my list with attendees and non-attendees from my area.
7.        Input business cards I got into my Contacts, with notes about when I met each person and what we talked about (so I remember the colleague who can help when I can't get system X to work!).
8.        Send LinkedIn invitations to the new people that I met, so I can stay in touch and continue to exchange knowledge and experiences with them.
9.        Start following these colleagues on Twitter, so I can see the news and topics that are affecting my industry.
10.    Set aside 30-60 minutes a week to read the blogs, news feeds, and ILTA e-group discussions that are relevant to me, to continue my education after the conference (reminder: focus on 30-60 minutes; it will get too overwhelming to try and read everything every week).
What are other ideas for retaining what you learned at the ILTA conference, and for keeping the intellectual energy going strong? Remember, what happened in Vegas shouldn't stay in Vegas. Please share your thoughts and takeaways by commenting on this post, or by tweeting them with a reference to  #ILTA10.

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3 comments:

Greg Lambert said...

Thanks for sharing your 'to do' list with us, Ayelette.

I've found that using social media to follow some of the speakers/peers (#9) at these conferences really helps maintain my energy levels throughout the year. When you meet people with great ideas, and then you continue to see them share their ideas via Twitter, LinkedIn or Blogging, I find it helps remind me of things I want to try, gives me the motivation to keep pushing toward implementing the project, and (most importantly) it gives me an easy communication tool to stay in touch with the folks I meet. Perhaps the greatest use is that I get to hit them up for some help when I run into problems!!
Thanks for the tips!

Natalie Huha said...

Thanks Ayelette! I'm so glad there was so much to tweet about! It was great to see all of the collaborative efforts of everyone! Thanks for sharing my blog and all the tweets!

Natalie Huha aka @legalerswelcome

Anonymous said...

Woot!

 

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