Getting Ready For GOVTalks

A woman paying close attention and taking notes at a conference.

Preparing for a conference involves more than just filling out the registration. As we prepare for the upcoming GOVTalks, we're sharing tips to get attendees geared up for the event.

Do your research

Feel like you don't know enough about a discussion topic? Doing a little research ahead of time will enable you to be an active participant. Read session summaries, learn a little more about our speakers, or watch past talks from our archives to get up to speed on what we’ll be discussing.

Obtaining more background information means you'll get more out of every session. You'll have an idea of what you'd like to take away from the talk and the specific questions you want answered.

Keep track efficiently

While this one may seem obvious, many people assume they'll remember the important points they hear or that taking notes will distract them from listening attentively. In fact, it's the opposite: humans forget roughly 40% of new information within 24 hours of hearing it. But effective note taking can bump up retention to almost 100%.

Whether it's a laptop or pen-to-paper, keep track of important points, relevant statistics, or personal quotes that were particularly impactful. Use key phrases to keep track of high-level ideas or facts. If you feel you need to flesh it out, you can go back immediately after the discussion while your memory is still fresh and fill in any missing pieces.

Take note of discussed materials

Some sessions may provide follow-up materials, likely in the form of presentation recordings or helpful one-sheeters. But you can take it a step further. Make a note of websites, periodicals, books, or social media accounts speakers mention those are a useful resource to expand your knowledge base. You can also ask other attendees what books and industry news sources they read. Pick a few that intrigue you and start a reading list.

Network with your peers

Conferences are an ideal time to learn from peers, get inspired, and connect with colleagues. Use breaks and meal times to meet new people or reconnect with colleagues you don’t often get to see. Set a goal of introducing yourself to at least three new people. It can be daunting at first, but once you get into the habit of pushing yourself to start new conversations, it becomes easier. 

DSGa team members will be available to answer any of your questions or chat about a specific topic. Take the networking online by following DSGa on Twitter (@GeorgiaGovTeam) and join in the conversation by tweeting about the event using the official hashtag #GaGOVTalks.

Give a presentation when you return

Use the notes and materials you collected during your conference to prepare a presentation that highlights your key learnings. Strive to share at least five high-level takeaways. Explain them to your team in a clear, concise summary. Not only is this helpful to your colleagues, but it will help you better understand and retain what you've just learned. Be a champion of constituents-centered services within your agency at all the times.

To continue moving forward...

Don’t let your momentum end once you return from GOVTalks. Pick a skill or program you heard about and sign up for a related class. Our State Certified Content Workshop provides ways to improve your digital strategy to better serve your constituents. You can also learn more by reading our weekly blog or to get answer to more specific questions by signing up at GOVTalks for office hours with the DSGa team. Let each event spur you on to keep learning.

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