Don’t Lose the Lessons

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Q: When I attend conferences and hear motivational speakers, I am really energized and inspired. However, once the sessions end, I can’t maintain the positive energy. How do you stay motivated once the conference is over? — K. Charles , West Orange, New Jersey

A: Remember what we were told about the value of study habits as college freshmen? For every hour of class time, you’ll need at least two hours of study time to retain the lessons. You need to approach conference sessions similarly.

Choose your classes. Instead of trying to cram every conference session into your schedule, prioritize, focusing first on those related to helping you achieve your objectives. Be specific: What do you want to learn, improve, achieve, or change?

Listen consciously and actively at each session, connecting the strategies and advice offered to the results you want to realize once the conference is over.

Take notes. I often see conference attendees sitting through session after session without writing down a single word — as if they are really going to remember more than 2% of what they hear. If the session was really good, buy a cassette recording after the session has concluded. Or bring a portable recorder and tape it yourself.

Study as if you are preparing for a major exam, and you won’t forget the lessons. After the conference is over, regularly review your notes as well as any other conference materials. Listen to your session tapes. Life is a test — and nothing will motivate you like feeling prepared for it.