Conference Materials Survey: How Attendees Get Organized

I’m running a series of posts about a survey I did to see how conference attendees organize the information and materials they bring home with them. Please be sure to read Post 1 (Survey Results Overview), Post 2 (Questions 1 & 2/Attendance & Note-taking) and Post 3 (Questions 3 & 4/Vendors & Swag) for analysis of the results thus far.

In this post, I’m going to examine the answers to Question 5: How do you organize your conference materials when you get home?

Respondents had the following answers to choose from (and once again, they could pick more than one):

  • I don’t
  • I create a binder for each conference I attend
  • I scan everything for future reference
  • Other (please specify)

Twenty-one folks admitted that they don’t organize materials once they return home. Thirteen said they create a binder for each conference (but many more said they use simple file folders instead). Nine said they scanned the materials. I had 51 replies for “Other” to sort through.

There were many interesting ideas among the various responses submitted. Here are a few examples:

“The best way is to share your conference highlights with someone else. When I start talking about a session, I really “get” what I learned. The best conference I had was when my roommate and I de-briefed each other each evening on our highlights.” (this type of comment was echoed by at least one other respondent)

“One thing that helps me is postings or articles about conference sessions. e.g. for our AIIP conference, I love reading the articles in Connections, esp. if I missed a session. I love the way others perceived the content of a session as it broadens my own understanding.”

“I generally review all my notes and create a list of action items for follow-up.”

“I write up summaries (with links to slideshare etc) and keep it in a file on my computer.”

One respondent mentioned in answer to this question that she live-blogs to help her record sessions. Another respondent said they take notes on index cards and then these are filed appropriately on their return — I need to follow-up with this respondent to see how these are organized. I keep imagining they have an old card catalog cabinet or something.

Still another very organized respondent organizes reference materials for vendors and products she already uses in files she has for each of those providers; notes on topics related to research she performs are filed in the appropriate boxes by subject; she has a “Try It” box for new things to explore and she schedules time to try these out; and finally, she sorts the cards for contacts with whom she needs to follow-up.

Stay tuned for my next post on how many folks purchase conference materials on CD/thumbdrive and/or purchase recordings of sessions after the fact. Read more below:

4 thoughts on “Conference Materials Survey: How Attendees Get Organized

  1. Greta Koehl says:

    This is an interesting series of posts. By comparison, my approach to conferences seems to be half-organized, half-chaotic.

  2. baysideresearch says:

    Right there with ya, Greta!

  3. […] Post 4 (Question 5/How Do You Organize Materials?) […]

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