Whether you’re a professional or someone who just loves to attend conferences to learn more about your field or network with other people in your industry, conferences are key to grow as an individual.
Recently, I attended the Digital Crossroads Conference put on by the Louisville Digital Association. It’s the best Digital Conference in the midwest. During the conference I used Evernote as my application to take notes, capture information, and remember everything. In this post, I’ll share with you how I used Evernote during the conference and how you can use it too during your next event.
But first, what’s Evernote? Evernote is a cloud based app that allows you to collect information, create workflows, and save everything for future use. Its powerful search, notebooks, and tags allow you to customize how you use the app and the files you have stored.
So, how did I use Evernote for the Digital Crossroads Conference?
First, I created a Notebook
Using the notebook feature of Evernote, I created a notebook specifically for everything relating to the conference. This means primarily notes for the conference and other notes.
It’s within this notebook that all my notes, thoughts, and information will go. Well, sort of… More about that later.
Second, I created my notes system
Every presentation I attended at the conference got it’s own note. I’m a big fan of order and decided to order my notes by title ascending, and gave each note a title following a convention: NN – Title of Presentation – Speaker, where NN is a number I assigned.
This way all my notes are organized and I can easily access them.
Each note contains my notes from the presentation as if I were in class taking lecture notes, but using Evernote’s features I also kept the following:
A PDF of the presenter’s slides
While the slides were not readily available the LDA emailed out the slides of every presentation given after the conference was over. I merely attached the PDF to the note with each speaker. With my Evernote Premium account, each PDF is indexed and I can search for content within the slides if I need to.
Audio Recording of the Talk
Evernote has an audio recording feature already built in to the application so it’s nice to be able to record the audio and also take notes simultaneously. This is helpful because If I want to listen to the talk again, I can, right within the application.
A note though, about this feature. You have to stay in Evernote to keep recording. If you go out and check Facebook or Twitter like I did, you’ll have to start another recording. Still, this is a super feature of Evernote.
My own notes
Of course, I kept my own notes of the conference in Evernote.
Third, I scanned all business cards
While learning and growing in the industry from a knowledge perspective is central to conferences, so is the networking aspect. Evernote made this aspect just as easy. Using Evernote’s iOS application I snapped pictures of connections I made.
Evernote captures an image of the card, scans the card for the person’s contact info, and saves the information in a note in a notebook I specify.
Evernote also allows me to add the person’s information to my contacts, which is then synced to my computer and other devices through iCloud.
Finally, if the person’s email address is used for a LinkedIn account, I am given also the option to connect via LinkedIn automatically.
After I scanned in all my cards, I created a tag for the conference, (#DigitalCrossroads) and tagged all my contacts with that tag.
Finally, I created an Action Items Note
Conferences are great for learning and networking for sure, but they are also great for taking action afterwards. With so much you’ve learned, it’s good to capture what you’re going to do as a result of the talks you’ve listened to.
So, I created a note, “00. Action Items” to live at the top of the notebook and created a checklist of all the things I will do.
So far, I need to kick it up a notch and get more things done. So I should probably use Evernote’s Reminder feature daily until I get them done.
Additional and Final Thoughts
Evernote is clearly a great way to capture information from any conference you attend. It’s great on the individual level, but I also thought how this could be used for teams and for collaboration for more than one person. A couple thoughts I had were:
Sharing the note/notebook link where anyone could contribute.
Like a public wall, anyone with the link could write down thoughts, meaningful quotes from presentations, and comments about presentations. (Have to be careful though to police comments and such).
Using a note, people could post things they would accomplish by the next conference for accountability or for fun.
Similarly, members of the same company who attend the conference can all contribute to the notebook and collaborate on the same talks or split up and go to different presentations and keep other team members in the loop as well. This notebook could be shared as a Business Notebook and always available to the company for future reference.