My Post-Conference Challenge

Collaborate 2017 was a fantastic, inspiring, and educational conference. This was the best conference I’ve ever attended. And I’ve been to a few.

From the amazing and vibrant keynote speakers to the enthusiastic and entertaining local gurus, it was all great.

This conference had quite the impact on me. I left Shelly’s talk wanting to hug everyone, which is pretty weird for me since I’m definitely not the hugging type. Scott Abel made me laugh out loud, Doug Kim made me want to cry, and Rebecca Officer made me want to go out and implement a DITA strategy RIGHT NOW! Over two days I was immersed in subjects that I’m passionate about and connected with others who feel the same way. There’s something very lovely about sitting in room with 80 other people who don’t get up and leave when you spout phrases such as “structured content”, or “user experience”, or “Oxford comma”. And that’s why I go to conferences. To feel inspired, and get fresh ideas, and reconnect, and feel that what I do and what I love is important and worthy, is skilled, and adds value. That’s what Collaborate 2017 was for me.

But now that it’s all done and dusted, the hangover’s gone, the bags are unpacked, and it’s back to the daily grind, I’m left thinking, what now? What will I do next?

I’m so aware that it’s all too easy to go back to your day job, your family, and your normal life, and forget what you’ve learnt and experienced, and forget that feeling of wanting to change things, and be better, and learn something new.

And that’s the problem with conferences – Actually doing something with the information that you have gained.

So what can we do about it? What am I going to do next?

  1. I’ll go through my written notes, type up the good bits and key points in OneNote, then make a summary of actions and ideas to implement at work and in general.
  2. I’ve made a reading list of at least ten books I want to check out. So I’ll purchase one or two and get into some serious nonfiction reading.
  3. I’ve started following some of my favourite presenters on Facebook (Scott Abel is a prolific poster and has the bonus of a daily hot bloke with coffee) and connected with some on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to getting further inspiration and tips, and maybe even more titles to check out.
  4. I’ve checked out some of the sponsor websites and products. I suggest you do too. Maybe I’ll even buy something or apply for one of those jobs!
  5. I’ve decided to make more of a commitment to TechCommNZ. This organisation is important to me and it’s our responsibility as members to support it and help it grow and become even better. TechCommNZ gives me education, inspiration, career opportunities, and comradeship, so the least I can do is give back some time. So, I’ll be continuing on the Board and investing more time and energy to the organisation even if that means dropping other non-work commitments. There are a few members stepping down in July this year, so it would be great to see some fresh and enthusiastic new faces.
  6. And finally, I’m going to take action on those key messages of the conference:
    1. Instigate change (when change is needed)
    2. Demonstrate the value of great writing and be proud to call myself a writer
    3. Always advocate for my users
    4. Investigate new technology and be open to trying to new things
    5. Always seek to improve
    6. Make sure my content is accessible to ALL my users
    7. Aim to always be a creator of meaningful and valuable content

So now, what about you? What are YOU going to DO?

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