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Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Use It or Loose It, Event Follow-Up That Keeps You Fired-Up
Karen Eber Davis

July, 2007

Raise your hand if you ever attended a training event and gotten “fired-up,” but within 48-hours of returning to your office the fire “sizzled out.” This time, you promised it would be different. After all, you invested time and money to attend the event. But somehow, once again, when you arrived back, the task tsunami on your desk doused the flame again. This article provides 10 tips on how keep your event fire glowing.
When You Decide to Attend

  • Simultaneously schedule in your calendar a follow-up appointment with yourself. Plan 30 minutes for every 3-hours of presentations.

During the Event

  • Use breaks or transition times to make notes on the backs of business cards of new contacts. Include the date, follow-up actions and details.
  • Scan the handouts. Decide if they are “meaty” enough to keep. If yes, date them and label the location of their next destination in your office (i.e., a file) or to whom you will send it.
  • Often you need only a few pages. In this case, fold over the corners and label with their destination, as above, to quickly retrieve them
  • During presentations, use your notes to capture action items. For instance, when the speaker suggests following-up with new contacts and gives several examples, jot down, “Develop tickler system for 48-hour follow-up with potential donors.”
  • As the speaker summarizes, review your notes and select your top three- five action items. Place large checks or stars next to them.

Your Post-Meeting Appointment

  • Review handouts and notes. Complete any tasks that take ten minutes or less, like sending materials to a colleague or adding a book to your reading list.
  • Schedule time for any remaining items. Calendars that allow you to schedule to-do lists are helpful. I use Planner Pad ( In addition to the daily appointment area, it provides space for weekly activities by categories and daily to-do lists.
  • If your schedule can’t fit new projects, create a folder of future project ideas. Add any unassigned action items to the folder with today’s date. Quarterly, review the folder and schedule projects. After one year, discard unused items.
  • Discard everything else. Yes. I’m serious. Why add unrealistic tasks to your life? Actions that aren’t enough a priority for your calendar or a future project folder are in the incubation stage. Celebrate that you deposited the check and throw away the envelope in which it arrived.

Karen Eber Davis is a consultant, strategist, group facilitator and writer. As president of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, she draws on her full set of skills to help organizations plan and fund their way to excellence. Her firm has attracted such clients as the Red Cross, Circus Sarasota, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Suncoast Workforce Development Board, the Englewood Water District, Dreams are Free and more than 100 local, regional and national organizations. Her consulting work is respected for its innovation, enthusiasm and energy as well as its practical understanding of the spirit and psychology of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit her website at


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