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Post Conference Follow-Up Hacks

Post Conference Follow-Up Hacks

I’m coFounder and Organizer of PodCamp, which is coming up in a week or two, and I just got an email from a fellow podcaster asking me about how I’ll be planning to manage the influx of business cards, ideas, and conversations/follow-up this kind of an event will bring with it. I thought this might prove useful to anyone attending conferences or events in the coming months (as that season gets underway in earnest in the US at least).

Directly after the Event

Well, directly after the event, I’ll kiss my wife and children, and thank them for understanding why I was completely absent for an entire weekend. But then…

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  • Gather up your new business cards in a pile.
  • If you’ve got a nifty card scanner, have at.
  • If not, send a short email to everyone you met. You can template *some* of the text, including your signature and stuff, but be genuine in your reply.
  • This gives you a digital copy of their email address to add to your contacts list later (in most software).
  • In the mail, mention that it was great meeting them, and mention one or two lines from your conversation. “I was really happy to talk with you about rototilller podcasts. I hope we can develop something on that line in the coming months.”

And this raises a point. Put a “call to action” in the email that prompts them to contact you (if that’s important to you). Mention something specific and actionable that you’d like them to do with you in the future.

Make Links

Here’s a nice touch: You might’ve spoken with 200 people, and through this process, you might learn that Michael and Sam both have the same things in mind for the future. It’d be nice to send a note to Michael, asking if he’d met Sam, and send one to Sam asking if it’s okay to put the two of you together. (Luckily, this is an example. Michael and Sam, who we reference at Lifehack from time to time, are blissfully married).

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Carry this process in your head onto other opportunities. Did you meet four different vendors doing the same thing with different colored bunny ears on top? Invite the four of them to the same lunch and let the shoot-out happen in the open. It’ll save time and make it much easier to endure the repetition.

Load up your Calendar

The best time for action is within the few weeks following the event. Everything’s fresh in everyone’s brain. Entropy hasn’t set in. It’s all still a ball of energy and possibility. Use NOW as a great time to schedule meetings and try to build on the momentum of your personal contact at the event. Especially in this virtual world, that little bit of facetime sometimes catapults new relationships to the next level.

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Keep the Cards

I play “shuffle up and email” often. I take my cards from past events, and then send someone a random email (hopefully with value to what they’re doing, and mindful of what I’d want to do with them). The email is a “ping,” a chance to show them that I’m still out there, and that we might still have business. Further, it might just be the thing that gets someone thinking of me for another opportunity.

Your Tricks

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When you finish a grueling 3 day event in a foreign city, what do you do after reconnecting with your family? How does it relate to what you do for work? Are you in sales? Do you consider your experience to be as your title, or a chance to interact as YOU, the brand?

–Chris Brogan is helping with PodCamp Boston. He’s developing a new framework system for time management and life skills at Grasshopper Factory.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

It’s also unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

The Fake Inbox Zero

The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

Have zero inboxes.

The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

Stop Faking It

Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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