AM&P 17: 3 Tips for Making Conferences Count

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By Christina Folz

The Association Media & Publishing 2017 Annual Meeting is less than a week away — and I can’t wait to see old friends, make new contacts, and — most important — find lots of fresh ideas to help me do my job better. It’s a great program that will surely resonate with association publishing professionals at all levels.

The only problem — and finding problems is an occupational hazard for editor types like me — is that it can all feel a bit overwhelming: You listen, learn, shake many hands, make a million plans, and then, inevitably … return to the office. As the fluorescent lights flick on, you can almost feel your inspiration evaporate. You get sucked right back into the daily grind and find yourself wondering “What was the thing that guy said again?”

To help make great conferences like AM&P’s count for longer, I asked a few volunteers on AM&P’s content creation committee to share their tips for integrating the learning and insights they glean at meetings into their day-to-day work lives. Here’s what they had to say:

  1. Practice What You Learn: “The 2017 AM&P Annual Meeting will be an opportunity to refresh myself on the fundamentals of writing, editing, and proofreading. As creative professionals working in the digital age, we must ensure that we don’t let the basics go by the wayside as we strive to publish often and in real time across digital publishing platforms. To integrate what I learn during the meeting, I’ll write and edit. And write and edit. And write and edit. In addition to attending continued learning events such as the annual meeting, consistently practicing is the best way to grow.”

Lindsey Lewandowski, communications editor at the Academy of General Dentistry

  1. Radically Prioritize. “One commonly returns from a good meeting with a head swimming with what seem like great ideas. And, confronted with the quotidian realities of the job — and, more often than not, an overflowing email inbox — putting those concepts into practice seems like an impossible task.

“In my view, the best way to avoid this syndrome is to winnow the list, sharpen the focus, and concentrate on the next step. Set aside an hour or so on the day after the meeting to go through your notes and make a list of all potentially actionable ideas you encountered. If possible, rank those ideas in priority order.

“Then, select the one idea you think has the most potential to benefit the organization for a reasonable effort. Figure out the next action required to put that idea into practice, and take it. Continue with that next action until you see the idea start to take shape in reality in your organization.”

Stewart Wills, editor and content director, Optics & Photonics News, The Optical Society

  1. Tackle It as a Team. “If a group attends the conference, create a summary document — perhaps a shared Google doc — and have a meeting within a few weeks of the event to capture everyone’s ideas, impressions, and relevant conversations. Share it with others who were not able to attend. Then create a plan for how to prioritize the initiatives you want to try, and stick to it!”

Mark Ruthman, manager of digital solutions at the American Academy of Pediatrics

Christina Folz is the editor of HR Magazine at the Society for Human Resource Management and chair of AM&P’s content creation committee.

If you haven’t registered for the Annual Meeting, don’t wait! Get more information, the full schedule, and register at


AM&P 2017 Annual Meeting

June 26-28, 2017

DoubleTree Crystal City, Arlington, VA

Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Meeting is the only comprehensive event serving association communications and publishing needs. This year’s meeting will attract more than 400 leaders from premiere associations across the country. Join the brightest and most influential association professionals who convene each year to get the edge on the communication trends and marketing techniques of today and tomorrow.

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