The Biggest lesson first:
a. Never forget to think High Return on Investment vs. Risk ahead of time not after the fact
The part of the brain that is used most for day to day tasks is the Prefrontal Cortex. Every time you shift from one task to another OR make a decision, your glucose levels go down. Glucose is used by your brain for energy and also for conversion into neurotransmitters. So you are using up brain resources every time you focus or spend time on a project. In a conference, there are half a million things going on and it becomes imperative to focus only on the things that will bring you money and satisfaction and fulfill your vision. Like any other human being, I am tempted to talk to everyone and engage in everything that seems attractive.
Having clear goals ahead of time in my mind: only two – kept me focused only on the meetings and events and interactions that would yield that result. Also, planning on the Monday after the event to go over my notes and convert only selected ideas from the conference into activity will keep my mind sane and energized at the same time.
b. Stay focused on the long term – not on short term shiny objects of distraction
80 percent of your brain is dedicated to vision – your brain LOVES to create a vision and then a path towards it. But it also knows that this planning takes energy, so in a sense your ego part of the brain wants to be lazy as well. If you can consciously choose to create a vision and a plan towards fulfilling it and then stay on track no matter what by consistently looking at the long term vision, then you will have far less chances of being distracted.
Having my vision statement in front of me at all times had me let go of many of the decisions and things that tend to distract me during this conference.
I hope this helps you in how to get the most out of great conferences like the one I just attended.