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Breaking Convention

by Randall Craig on January 22, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking,

Tagged as: , , ,

Recently, I came back from the annual convention of an association that I am highly involved in. There were plenty of keynotes, workshops, and networking that were excellent at the time. But the value of attending only accrues after you come home. The next time you attend a conference or trade show, break the conventional wisdom by thinking about your goals beforehand, and doing something about it afterward.


  • Write down the specific information that you are hoping to acquire while there.
  • Pre-make appointments with other attendees: don’t leave networking to chance.
  • Pre-make appointments with any of your customers and suppliers who are also attending.
  • Query your non-attending colleagues to see if they would like you to do anything on their behalf while attending.
  • Finish the sentence: The conference will be successful if I __________.
  • Write a “convention to-do list” on the trip back home.


  • Begin developing relationships from the business cards that you have collected.
  • Follow up with your promises to “follow-up”.
  • Explore more fully topics that were given surface coverage by a speaker.
  • Write summary notes for your colleagues.
  • Invite a conference speaker to speak at your company event.

This week’s action item: Look back at the notes from the last convention or conference that you attended. Highlight the great ideas you wrote down that are only now applicable – and then do something about them.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)