Over the past several years, I have had the honor to be able to hear many great speakers and communicators at countless events and seminars. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do – break away from the office for a day or two and find ways to challenge myself, grow, learn, and meet others in the same boat. Although I get to hear great material and gather some great ideas for how it can all impact my life and the world around me – I often find that I never take the time to process what I have heard and make it apply for me.
The most frustrating part is that its great stuff and so quickly I loose it. I just think over 2010 how much great material I have been able to hear. Through Backstage Leadership alone, I have heard from Dan T. Cathy, Jon Acuff, Mark Batterson, Francis Chan, Ken Blanchard, Mike Foster and more. Then you throw in Chick-fil-A Seminar and I was able to listen to Coca-Cola CEO, Mutar Kent, Bill Hybles of Willow Creek, Andy Stanley, and even more great Chick-fil-A Speakers. Then we can go with an event like Catalyst where the stage was filled with great communicators: Scott Harrison, Seth Godin, Beth Moore, Perry Noble, Gabe Lyons, Craig Groeschel, and more. The list goes on and on… But the biggest question is what do you do with the information – because reguarless of how great a speaker is and how great the content is, if you do not apply it and put it into practice then you loose it and waste it.
Through all of these experiences I have worked to find out the best way to capture your thoughts and the best way to capitalize on what you have heard. The process has to start with a good note taking system (for me I use a Moleskin, then transfer all materials to a indexable database such as Evernote to find information very easily later on) but after note taking you have to take your info to a different level. For me is as simple as 3 easy steps. Hear me out…
- Within 1 hour stop, debrief, reflect, and journal: I understand that it is not always feasible to stop within an hour of receiving great material to debrief, but I do encourage you within one hour of getting away from the hustle of everything going on – stop and think about what you have heard. I would start by simply writing a 1-3 key take-aways in a permanent place. For some this is a blog, for others its a journal – wherever it is you need to write down 1-3 key points and take aways from your event/material. (you can add more, but having 1-3 key points is much better than loosing it all)
- Within 1 day find someone to share your key learnings with: It is proven that you will learn something so much more if you teach it – the same is true of things that you learn through great communicators and events. For me, it is important to verbalize what your take aways are as it will help you process it further. The other great thing is that it will lead you to great conversations that will give you insights from others and help expand your growth and learning even more.
- Lastly, within 1-week find at least 1 additional resource to take you deeper. This is the final point that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. The best growth will happen when you dive in further on the topic being talked about. You can do this simply through reading blog posts about it, finding articles online, read a book on the topic, watch interviews on YouTube. Whatever it may be, I want to challenge you to take what you learn at the event and find a way to take it a step further.
I know there are a lot of ways to process, but this works for me. The biggest thing to realize is that when you are a part of hearing and being exposed to great material, you then are a steward of the information. Will you be a good steward and allow it to grow you into the person and leader you want to be or will you waste the material, waste your time, and do nothing with it?
How do you process and debrief after an event?
Below you will also see a great video produced by Growing Leaders on this Concept – enjoy: