Have you been to a conference that pumped you up so much that you wanted to come back and change the world? I’ve been lucky enough to go to more than one like that. The most recent was the Smashing Conference in New York City this spring. I think I must have stayed awake almost the whole four days. Both the conference and New York City excited me. One morning I got up at 5:00 to walk through Central Park before the conference. I found that it was much larger than I imagined (778 acres). Over three hours later, I finally reached the top of the park to find that I was over 4 miles away from a conference that started at 9:00. Then I got my adrenaline pumping by taking a high speed cab ride through the heart of the city at rush hour. That was the perfect way to prepare my mind for the excitement, creativity, and inspiration that followed.
I returned to work ready to share knowledge and push forward some ideas for improvement. At first it went well. I gave presentations to Marketing and to my local Toastmasters club which were well received. Then I presented to my department and nothing changed. I had changed but I had not been able to supercharge my co-workers in any meaningful way.
While not unexpected, you can’t let other’s reactions discourage you. You can’t distill the essence of a conference into a single speech. Your best bet is to use that knowledge at work and soon people will be coming to you.
The speeches are important as they force you to summarize your experiences and lay the foundation of the work to follow. The speeches also put the seed of an idea in the minds of management. This will bring more attention to your work. Use the last bit of post-conference energy to generate new energy and excitement.
You may be tempted to spend extra time working so that you can come up with the magic that will impress management. I would argue against this. It will work at first but once you start working overtime, you will find yourself succeeding at the price of your free time. You’re going to need that free time if you ever expect to be happy. The creativity sparked in the spaces outside of work will more than make up for any time lost at work.