My New Conference Strategy

September 27, 2014 Ryan Bovy

In August I attended the Litmus Email Design Conference. Litmus is an application that allows you to test your email and landing pages in a number of browsers, email clients, and mobile email clients. Being a young professional, this was the first conference I’d ever attended on my own. I went into the conference with expectations of an exhibition hall and a lot of sales guys. This isn’t what I found.

My intention in attending The Email Design Conference was to accumulate knowledge, but I didn’t have any idea of how I would record and organize everything that I learned. Thankfully, Litmus offered a solution for that, too. At the opening keynote I drew the three by three table in my conference planner (think tic-tac-toe board) as I was instructed.

The first column was for people: meet three people, write down their names, their businesses, their email addresses, and maybe take note of something that will help you remember them. Many sought to exchange business cards to fill this column, but I found it to be a great social lubricant (even for the less talkative folks, like coders).

The second column was for “Quick Wins”: write down three things you learn that you are going to implement immediately. This column could’ve be ten columns tall. I often refer to these things as nuggets – pieces of knowledge that are great to know, even if there is no actual implementation. Often read as, “No, that won’t work, and here is why.”

The final column was for “New Ideas,” but I termed mine “Big Concepts.” Big concepts were items that maybe I knew a little about, but wanted to know more. Each item in this column could’ve been stated as the sentence, “When I get back to the office, I need to research more about blank.

I loved this structure so much that I plan to use it in every conference or summit I attend going forward. Perhaps next time each of my columns will number ten, three is a great number to start. I view it as a bigger organizational structure: A way to easily make sense of everything that we learn and all of the people that we meet at these events without letting things fall all the way through the cracks.

It doesn’t hurt that at the Litmus Email Design Conference we were incentivized by selfies and Litmus swag (free t-shirts, pillows, and pint glasses).

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