One of the hazards of having a job covering the meetings and events industry is that you end up viewing conferences and events in a very different light. Sure, I attend for the topic at hand, but I often find myself viewing the conference through a different lens. I’m often thinking about how the conference is organized and what is good, bad and just plain ugly.

It happened last week while I was attending a conference in New York at the Marriott Marquis. The topic was travel marketing and while I definitely learned a lot about the current state of travelers, what they want, where they’re coming from and more, I also took home a tip shared by one of the presenters. His presentation ended with a five-minute break, but it wasn’t time to grab coffee or chat with your tablemates. Instead, the idea was to break down what you’d learned in his 1 ½ session and write clear steps for implementing the ideas that pertained to your business. I thought it was a brilliant solution to what happens so often when you attend these events. You’re buzzing with energy and ideas and maybe even took diligent notes but it’s a little bit like going to the dentist and promising to floss twice a day. A week later you’ve dropped off the bandwagon and you’re back to your old habits.

The takeaway? Next time you’re an attendee, take five minutes to tame all of the ideas buzzing around your head and determine which ones make sense for your business and role, then write out an action plan. I can’t promise you’ll put them into action but at least you’ll have a handy list of what you think you should be doing.