by Rebecca S. Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, research officer at University of the Incarnate Word
Before the conference you diligently poured over the session and speaker descriptions, planned out your flights for optimal arrival and departure times, and emailed all your conference friends to see if they wanted to meet up for coffee or dinner. You worked hard to make sure everything was in place so you could get the most out of the time you’d spend with your colleagues (and away from the office!).
But what happens when you get back? Your inbox is overflowing with new messages. Your voicemail is at capacity. There is a stack of interdepartmental mail envelopes on your desk that’s taller than your cat. This can’t be right. Was I really only gone for five days? And just like that, you hit the ground running.
Before you look back and wonder where the entire month of January went, here are a few things you should remember to do to ensure you get every ounce of value from your 2014 AER Conference experience:
- Log in. If you registered for the 2014 AER Conference, you received an email from PRIM&R with login information for the conference proceedings.* The conference was all the way back in early December and, chances are, you’ve had panicked last-minute holiday requests from colleagues, family, and friends packing your schedule and mind since then. Log in and get a refresher on the topics you learned about at the conference so they stick with you. It’s pedagogy 101: going over a lesson again helps cement it in your mind.
- Listen up. There were great keynote speakers this year. But if you took full advantage of your hotel’s comfy pillows or got stuck in the line at the coffee station, you may have missed the early bird specials. Follow the Audio and Video link in the conference proceedings and access all the early-morning (and afternoon!) goodies, including the keynotes, panels, and innovations sessions. With professional-grade recording, it’s like you’re right there all over again.
- Check out what you missed. When you attend a conference or meeting the size of PRIM&R’s AER Conference, chances are there are at least two sessions in each block you want to attend. You weigh the options, read through the descriptions, pick one, change your mind, pick the other, then go back to the first (promising yourself you’ll look at the other’s slides). Set aside some time (put it on your calendar if you need to) to go back and download the slides and materials from those sessions you missed. Even if you don’t have time to read them now, you’ll have them on hand for when you do.
- Look through the stack of business cards you gathered. The sooner you do this, the better the chances are you’ll remember why you asked for (or accepted) that person’s card. Was it someone you excitedly chatted with after a session? Was it someone who offered to help read a policy draft? If you don’t figure it out soon, you may miss out on the follow-up that helps build a great, new relationship.
*To access session materials and recorded videos from the conference, you will need the conference access key. If you attended the conference, this access key was emailed to you and was also on the back of your conference name badge. If you are unable to locate it, please call the PRIM&R office at 617.423.4112, ext. 0. If you did not attend the conference, please download the proceedings order form to purchase access.