What’s the use in attending conferences if you don’t have take-aways that bring you a return on your investment? To elicit a return on my investment my take-aways need to either benefit myself personally, or my clients and potential clients directly or indirectly by helping me to better serve you.

So here are five take-aways I’ve garnered from my conference experiences that you can apply to your businesses and life right away.

1. Hypergrowth through incremental steps. Apply laws of hypergrowth to your business or profession. The law of least effort is that hard doesn’t make things better; only harder. Simple gets things going more quickly, and any improvement is better than none. The law I especially like is the law of compounding…that small changes to interrelate parts of your business multiply each other. Instead of looking at our ideas as all or nothing, when we make continual positive cumulative improvements we grow our results consistently. For example, a 15% growth in business can mean just going from six clients to seven clients. When we use this perspective, doing what it takes to gain one more client is “doable” and we can realize an encouraging growth factor that motivates us to keep going and growing.

2. Societal pendulum – “me” and “we” cycles. Society experiences two cycles of public opinion and thinking – a “me” cycle and a “we” cycle. Based on the book “Pendulum” by Michael Drew and Roy Williams, we swing between these two cycles and reach the peak of each every 40 years. If we don’t realize the cycle we’re in and the cycle we’re moving towards, our focus and our messaging will be out of sync. If we’re heading – or are already in – to a “me” cycle, our messaging should focus on freedom, personal liberty, big dreams, a desire to be the best, individualism, elevating one person higher than “the rest”, and to paraphrase from Star Trek(TM)…”The needs of the one outweighs the needs of the many”. The most-recent “me” cycle is 1963-2003; think “Baby Boomer” and X generations. If we’re heading – or are already in – to a “we” cycle, our messaging should focus on conformity for the common good, creating a better world, small actions leading to large results, teams, individual humility and thoughtful people, solving societal problems to strengthen the whole, and again from Star Trek(TM)…”Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. The most-recent “we” cycle is 2003-2043; think Millennials and Re-Gen/Homelander generations. Know the cycle you’re experiencing and where along the pendulum swing in that cycle we’re heading, then target your idea messaging and your business focus towards the prevalent values.

3. Creative problem-solving process. When we work through problems and challenges and come up with ideas to solve them, we follow specific processes consistently. Many models exist – some with four steps, six steps, or seven steps – that define such problem-solving processes. The model to which I am acclimated is the FourSight(R) model. This model consists of four phases: clarify, ideate, develop, and implement. Each of us tends to be strong in one or two of these phases, yet every phase is essential if we are to move from situation to ideas to solution to action. If we work within a team, the ideally productive team has a collective set of members with varying strengths in each phase. Clarifiers are good at details and like to get a clear understanding of issues before leaping into ideas, solutions, or action. Ideators are “idea people” – great with generating a lot of ideas, developing concepts, and seeing possibilities. Developers like analyzing potential solutions, exploring strengths and weaknesses and examining alternatives to turn rough ideas into well-crafted implementation plans. Implementers get their energy from taking action on those implementation plans. They focus on getting things done, period. None of these phases – or strengths – are good or bad. We must realize that to solve problems and implement ideas, we need to travel through all four phases of the creative problem-solving process.

4. Unlock your brain. When you need to get your sluggish brain in gear to work through an idea, shake-up an old habit or alter a routine. Do things backwards. Try a different color pen or print font. Walk through a different door. Schedule an “off” time for a meeting. Take a different route home. Use your other hand (from your dominant one) to do things. Ask “silly questions”. Engage in “serious play” with build-anything toys like Legos(TM) or Geomags(TM).

5. Storytelling: “But I don’t have a story to tell.” Most of us know that effective messaging – whether in a presentation, on a stage of thousands, on our website, or in our marketing – must include stories of some type. Stories captivate, elicit emotions, and move us. We sell on emotion and support with facts. I experience people at times who say they don’t have, or can’t think of, stories to tell. So here’s a tip…use other people’s stories! Read or watch or listen to “how they got there” or “how they did it” stories of people you admire or who are prominent in your (or your client’s) industry. Then relate their stories to your message, giving appropriate acknowledgment to the story originator of course. You will be perceived as a good storyteller and also as a researcher who knows her or his stuff!

Use any or all of these take-aways and apply them within the next 30 days, and you will authenticate the return on my investment in the conferences and retreats I’ve attended. When you attend your own (you DO engage in personal and professional development, don’t you?), strive to identify some of your own take-aways and share them with others to solidify your return on your investment in the experiences.

Author's Bio: 

Sylvia Henderson, Founder of the Idea Success Network, helps individuals and teams reveal the power of their ideas and position their ideas for profit. Using her IMPACT© collaborative discovery & accountability process she provides a comprehensive set of services to help you convert your concepts to cash. Author of “Hey, That’s My Idea!” and other infoproducts, and host of a cable TV program, Sylvia gets you to realize and take action on your own “a-ha’s!” to make a difference in your life. Get tips & strategies that help you implement your ideas, and connect with Sylvia, at www.IdeaSuccessNetwork.com.