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So, You Presented at a Conference - Now What?

Posted By Katie M. Lewis, Friday, November 20, 2015

You spent the past several months brainstorming topic ideas, submitting a program session proposal, reviewing previous literature, compiling your findings, incorporating your insight, creating a visual presentation, analyzing your work, asking your colleagues for feedback, critiquing your work even more, and finally presenting what you've endlessly labored over...now what? 

The train doesn't end! More can, and should, be done to continue on with your work in order to enhance your skills, the field, and our students. After presenting at my first 'official' Student Affairs conference, the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA), in the beginning of November this year, I realized there are a few tips/pieces of advice I'd like to share with you all that personally helped me move forward:

  • Immediately after your presentation: pump the breaks. You just finished turning and keeping on your "extroverted" light-bulb for at least an hour - I truly think that all personality types should, and deserve, to take some time to relax and reflect on your presentation. This allows you the opportunity to contemplate about your knee-jerk reaction to how your presentation went. No need to rush to the next presentation session or meet up with long-time colleagues; take a walk, grab some coffee, go on a run, do what works best for you to unwind and ponder what just happened while it's still fresh on your mind!

  

  • A day or two after your presentation: you may have exchanged contact cards with presentation attendees and/or compiled a contact list of those that attended your session - be the one to set the tone! Reach out to those individuals you're able to contact and thank them for attending your session, and show appreciation to them if they potentially providing good discussion points, questions, feedback, food for thought, etc. I was not only quite surprised about the turnout I received at my 8:30am (yes...it was that early) presentation, but also completely grateful for how engaged my audience was to contribute to the body of knowledge we discussed. Reconnecting with those individuals helped to continue the conversation and make wonderful networking connections. (p.s., this might go without saying...but thank those that helped you along the way! This might include people that completed a survey, brainstormed ideas with you, provided feedback, co-presented with you, etc.)

 

  • It's examination time: You might have jotted down a few notes (mental or physical) when you took that time immediately after your presentation on how it went; but, after a few days, weeks, whatever time-frame that works best for you, it's beneficial to re-open your presentation materials, your notes, and those attendee assessment forms to plunge further into the information discussed - what went well, what could be improved, how can you incorporate the discussion points raised during the presentation, what should be modified, is an overhaul needed, etc. I think we all know what this process is called...

  • Future usage of material: It can be pretty easy to store any electronic and/or written presentation material in a file somewhere, where it accumulates dust or a lack of re-opening. However, can you adapt your session for another conference, a training session, an article, a blog, a paper, or other professional development opportunities? Can you modify it to target a different population, functional area, institution, etc.? Can you upload it to online platforms - such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, your personal blog, an organizational website? The sky is the limit - so be sure to not let your material lie under the ground, buried forever. 

  

Speaking of "sharing is caring", feel free to take a gander at my SACSA presentation via Prezi by clicking HERE. I'd love any and all feedback! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, concerns, food for thought, etc.:

Email: katie.michelle.lewis@gmail.com

Twitter: @kmlewis6

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmlewis6 

 

Tags:  conference  reflection  SEAHO  student affairs 

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