What to do after a conference? Tips for making the most out of every conference

You have arrived home after a conference and returned to work feeling invigorated but a little flat from missing your colleagues and new friends you connected with. What should you do with all the knowledge, images and business cards (or social media connections)?

Collect your thoughts and annotate

If you did or didn’t take notes during the conference, now is the time to collect your notes, sketches, doodles, and thoughts into a collection of ideas you can reread or search. Depending on how you took notes (sketches, photos of key slides, notes) it is best to combine them into a structured format such as a list or separate folders. The other task is to collect your thoughts while they are still fresh in your mind, either through annotation or notes with key points. We can all remember when it is three or four months after the conference, and you are trying to remember the point or idea that would be great for a project.

“In Consideration of Grounds: from Research to Practice” session slides at 2023 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture (c)ASLA. Image Credit: Damian Holmes

Download and sort your photos

If you are like me, you take hundreds of photos during a conference of places, people, expo booths, site furniture, paving details and more. Now is the time to sit down and download all the images to your computer or cloud, sort them into folders, and rename them (Learn to use F2). You can use programs such as Adobe Bridge, OneNote, Google Photos and others to manage your photos and tag them for future reference.

Federal Court Plaza – Minneapolis (Martha Schwartz Partners) Image Credit: Damian Holmes
mmcite Expo booth at the 2023 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture

Connect/Follow up with People

We met numerous people during a conference and collected business cards or LinkedIn connections. The best way to ensure you continue the conversation is to make time in the following week or two to connect with these people by email or on social media (LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram) so that you can reconnect.

Share the knowledge

You hopefully had some learning and ideas during the conference that are new or interesting. It is best to schedule a presentation with your team or office about what you learned and how the various ideas could be used in your practice.

Think of ideas for the next conference

During and after a conference, we are often struck by an idea for a paper or presentation for your next conference. It is a great time to write the idea outline and possible conferences or people you think would make a great team to present.

It is hard to try and do the above tasks after you have just come back from a conference and thrust back into work/family life but to make the most of the time and money you invested in the conference, it is key to make the most of what you learned and the new friendships you made at the conference.

Article written by Damian Holmes, Editor of World Landscape Architecture.

About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/