Did you enjoy the Chamber Pros Talks Online Conference last week? I hope you were able to attend and be a part of it. So much great information. And now you may be trying to figure out how you can put it into use at your chamber.

It might even seem a little overwhelming.

That’s why we’re bringing you some ideas on how to take conference insights (these work for any conference) and make them into actionable strategies. After all, learning is great, but learning how to make life better for your members doesn’t make it so. That’s why you need to put the ideas into action.

Capture and Organize Key Takeaways

At good conferences, there’s rarely a shortage of ideas. In fact, you likely come away from attending one with a million ideas in your head.

But then life happens. Someone has a crisis or there’s a fire to put out, and suddenly you’re wondering what your plans were and what you were trying to implement.

Capturing and organizing key takeaways is essential to getting started on your goals. The following suggestions work for in-person or virtual conferences.

The benefit to a virtual conference is that you may be able to watch the sessions again and again, taking something new out of it each time.

Take Notes
Bring a notebook or use a digital device to jot down important points, quotes, tools, and links mentioned by speakers. This helps in retaining information and makes it easier to review later. With the Chamber Pros Talks Conference, you’ll receive session notes that you can highlight and write directly on (if you’re a paper person).

Organize your notes into categories such as actionable items, new ideas, and contacts. This will help you prioritize and implement them effectively. Better yet, have AI do these things for you. Justdone and Claude 3 Opus ​offer handwritten text to e-notes conversions. (Although if you have handwriting like me, you might be out of luck.)

Use Digital Tools
Use conference apps to support learning and networking. These apps can help you share ideas, participate in discussions, and keep track of sessions and key takeaways.

Automate the process of capturing meeting summaries and notes using AI tools like Otter.ai. This allows you to focus on the content and interactions during the virtual conference.

Again, the Chamber Pros Talks Conference offers this as part of your event ticket so you can spend time reviewing them and using the info, rather than creating the transcription.

Reflect and Plan

While you may have heard a lot of great ideas at the conference, it’s important to be able to decide which ones will move your chamber forward in the direction you most want to go presently. Those should be given a priority.

You can’t do “all the things.” Just as you created a chamber strategic plan, you want to think about which action items support that plan OR which ones can be put into place that can streamline operations to give you more time to help you work on other things that would further your goals. For instance, using AI may not be in your strategic plan. But using it to engage your audience in less time can give you more hours for other activities such as workforce development.

If you’re still wondering what to start first, try this:

Reflect on Learnings
Reflect on what you learned and how it applies to your current challenges. Pencil this time into your calendar. Don’t try to do it when you “have a moment.” Instead, treat it like a member meeting and schedule a conference debrief. Whether it’s just with yourself, your board, another chamber pro, or your staff, block the time in your calendar.

Create a to-do list of actionable items based on the conference takeaways. This helps in prioritizing tasks and ensuring that important points are not forgotten. Categorize them using the following classifications:

-will make a difference in our work today
-will make a difference in 2024
-will make a difference on the legacy we leave

Things that make a difference today are quick wins that you’ll feel immediately. Items you categorize as making a difference before the end of the year may take some time to implement and your legacy are long term implementations and benefits. (Most of what you learned at the Chamber Pros Talks likely falls into the first two categories.)

Make a list of what you learned based on pain points and what will have the largest impact on your operation, then assign timelines/an implementation schedule to each activity you want to put into action.

Schedule Follow-Ups
Organize follow-up sessions with your team and/or board to discuss the key takeaways and how they can be implemented. You can also host presentations or workshops where you share what you learned.

Watch the videos. If your conference offered takeaway videos from speakers to reinforce learning, subscribe to them. Like watching your favorite movie, you may be surprised how many new things you pick up on when rewatching.

These videos can be shared with your team to keep the learning ongoing. If you’ve had difficulties in the past getting your board to agree to covering professional development, knowing that they can leverage the learning virtually may make the cost of attendance more worthwhile to them.

If you didn’t sign up for the videos ahead of time, check with the conference host to see if you can sign up for them after the event. They may not advertise it but might be happy to allow you to purchase the video collection.

Share and Implement

Even if you don’t have access to conference videos, make it a point to share learning with your staff and board, as well as your members if applicable.

Share Knowledge

 You can do this through:

  • Newsletter and Social Media Posts. If your takeaways are applicable to your members, incorporate some of your new learning in your newsletter and posts. Create a short video of a single tip. Little bite-sized information tidbits can be very engaging and something your audience looks forward to.
  • Meeting Recap Emails. Send out meeting recap emails that include key takeaways, action items, and relevant attachments. That way everyone is on the same page and can refer to the information as needed.
  • Team Presentations. Give a presentation summarizing the highlights of the conference. Sharing your new knowledge also reinforces your own understanding.

Apply New Ideas
When you apply the new ideas and solutions learned at the conference to address current challenges in your chamber, share the results. This demonstrates the value of attending the conference and helps in making a case for future attendance.

Try New Tools
Make a list of new tools and resources mentioned at the conference and plan to test them. Schedule time to audition them or assign a staff member to do it for you.

Continuous Learning

Promote Continuous Learning
Encourage your team to view learning as an ongoing journey. Share insights and new information regularly to keep everyone updated and motivated. They will also mirror your excitement. If you make it a priority in your professional development, they will be more apt to do the same.

Maintain connections with people you met at the conference or in the chat. Make a note of interesting discussions in the chat and reach out to those people. Networking can lead to new opportunities, collaborations, and further learning.

By capturing, reflecting on, sharing, and implementing the takeaways from a professional conference, you can ensure that the knowledge gained translates into actionable improvements and innovations at your chamber.

We hoped you enjoyed the 2024 Chamber Pros Talks. Now get back to using all that conference goodness.


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