Now what? Next steps for getting the most out of #NACADA16, #CSPANYS16 & other conferences once you get back home
Each year I attend the NACADA Conference, I come home more energized with ideas that I can't wait to put into practice with my students. Of course, returning to work provides a variety of other challenges given how many inbox messages have accumulated while you were on the road. But using those first few weeks back is critical for taking advantage of all that being a NACADA member or a member of another organization entails.
Connections & Collaborations:
The NACADA conference is a great place to connect with advising professionals and exchange contact information (assuming you don't forget to bring enough business cards). If you did pick up business cards, make sure to write a quick note on the back to help yourself remember the context in which you met that person, which greatly helps when you want to collaborate later. Also be sure to follow other NACADA members on social media that have had a strong presence on the #NACADA16 backchannel. This is similar for #CSPANYS16 or any other conference backchannel.
The value of such social media connections, especially on Twitter, is often a missed opportunity for those who aren't aware of the hashtag. But it isn't too late to take advantage of them. Thankfully, those hashtags don't disappear, so you can always hop in your Delorean, Tardis, or phonebooth and check out any you missed
Such connections set the groundwork for a variety of new collaborations. This year I was blessed with the opportunity to present four sessions with colleagues from around the nation, several of whom I had only met online or in person at one of the last conferences. Those connections helped us to develop the following presentations.
The NACADA conference is a great place to connect with advising professionals and exchange contact information. However, even for a seasoned professional it is not always easy to figure out how to get involved, once we get back to our busy schedules. Be sure to follow up with the chairs of the commissions and interest groups and offer to help in any way you can. They always need help with reading proposals, so that is always a good way to start. Also if you know people who are involved with any of the steering committees, let me know your interests and ask how they got involved. In my experience, these relationships, where you can ask question, help out considerably in breaking down the barriers to getting involved.
Don't Forget to Download Relevant Handouts:
I made this blunder last year, and forgot to download some of the handouts before the conference page expired a month or so after the conference. If you didn't have much room in your carry-on on the way home because of all the Atlanta swag, if you missed some great sessions that you want to catch up on, or if you weren't able to make it to Atlanta, you can still check out the handouts. If you miss it some presenters will forward their slides/handouts if you contact them by email or on social media.
Keep the Momentum & Excitement Going:
Entering into our busy schedules makes it seem like there isn't enough time to keep the momentum and excitement going when we get home, but don't be afraid to
I hope that these tips and hints help provide a basis for getting more out of your next professional conference. But most importantly, I hope that you realize that you that geography, time and budget don't need to limit your access to quality professional development
John P. Sauter Jr., Ph.D
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
Niagara University, NY
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