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  • Jeff Madlock

After #FETC – Clearing the Haze, Part 2 of 2

FETC Letters outside the convention center

In our previous post, we shared ways you can sort and sift through the pamphlets, trinkets, and other goodies you picked up while at FETC 2018. We continue the process, focusing on the handouts, notes and other information you received while attending sessions, workshops, breakouts, etc.

You undoubtedly picked up a LOT of useful information during your visit to FETC in Orlando. So much, in fact, you may feel more than a bit overwhelmed by it all. There are a couple of things you can do to help organize your information and digest everything you’ve learned.

  1. Find the highlights. Quickly go through your notes and handouts and find the things that stand out – things that you underlined, things that you circled, and things you highlighted. Those are usually the points that will stick with you. Take some time to refresh your memory and mentally revisit the sessions where that information was born.

  2. Prioritize your learning. As you go through the myriad of handouts, notes, and other information, see if you can organize and prioritize based on the criteria you decide. You might want to put shareable items at the top – things you plan to share with colleagues, administrators, and other stakeholders. Perhaps you want to let those things which apply most immediately to your own situation rise to the top first. You get to decide what’s important and how important it is. Some items may be interesting, but not important. Let those sift to the bottom of the learning for now. You can revisit those later.

  3. Take the good, take the bad. As you reflect on your learning, think about the positives and negatives about each session. What did you learn? what did you hope to learn but didn’t? How can you follow up to fill in the gaps? What are the shareable points? Are you a blogger, tweeter, facebooker? What things would you (or will you) share? Make notes. Use a unique color highlighter or some other method to mark those things worth sharing.

  4. Share! Remember: not everyone got to go to the same session(s) you did. There are lots of folks who would love to know what you learned, what you wanted to learn, and how you plan to apply your learning. You don’t have to write a book for each session. A couple sentences, sometimes just a few words, can convey the overall takeaways.

  5. Toss. Just as with the other information and swag you picked up, sometimes you just have to toss things away. Don’t be afraid to junk a session’s notes if that session proved to be less than helpful for you. On the other hand, instead of tossing the notes and handouts, perhaps you have a colleague who would greatly benefit from them, especially if they weren’t able to attend.

The key to this portion of sifting, sorting, and sharing is time. This part of the post-FETC filtering can take days, weeks, even months. It’s okay. You don’t want to forget the great things you learned, but you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself trying to declutter without processing.

*BONUS: Make notes for your next conference visit! What did you miss that you want to see next time? Think about the content, the tracks, the presentations that piqued your interest this year but you were unable to take part in. Shoot for those things next time!

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