Along with 699 of my fellow blogging buddies, I’m off today to the ProBlogger Training Event on the Gold Coast. For the second year in a row, I’m on the PBEVENT team, which is a hell of a lot of fun.
I’ve had a few people ask me what they can do to prepare to get the most out of the conference, and overwhelm seems to be one of the biggest issues. How do you network, take in all of the information, remember to eat, and have a fabulous Shine party outfit all at once?
Well I suck at fashion and I never forget to eat, so I can’t help you there. What I can help you with is nerding out over information and how to note-take effectively. You’re welcome!
I love pen and paper. I really do. No scratch that, I love PENCIL and paper, but that’s a story for another day. I always come armed with cute stationery to conferences and then my notes stay exactly where I left them, in a notebook somewhere among eight million notebooks*.
I’ve been using Evernote now for a number of years, at first just to email recipes to so I could have a searchable datatbase on-the-go of things I wanted to try. Then they expanded into having different notebooks available and opened up a whole new ball game.
For today, I’m going to focus on how you can use Evernote to fly through a conference super-organised and fancy. The first thing you have to do is get yourself an Evernote account. It will give you an email address to send things to that will then store the information in the app or online.
Number two is to set up a notebook that references the event. So all emails, notifications, and things you want to remember get sent to Evernote either via forwarding from email, or from clipping off the web (you will need the Evernote web clipper if you don’t already have it in your toolbar). Name it something conferencey (PBEVENT is a good start!) and whenever you receive updates or info about the conference, it goes in this notebook. Yay!
I particularly love using Evernote for conferences as a central hub of information. I send all the updates from event organisers there for handy reference later, all the booking confirmations of travel and accommodation, all the notes for each session, and for keeping new contacts in one place.
The extra beauty of Evernote on top of it being easily organised (FILE ALL THE THINGS!) and mega handy as it’s in my phone and syncs between all my devices, is that the images are searchable. So if there’s a photo of something written, Evernote will search those words in addition to file names, tags, and words within notebooks. Genius, huh? So even if you don’t have time to correctly name your files and add tags, you can search for the relevant information later (psst… also handy for remembering that wine you had at dinner the other night that you liked).
When emailing yourself the information, you can forward it straight to the general notebook to file properly later (all incoming gets sent to a central notebook), or you can choose which notebook to send it to (and add any relevant tags) by typing in the information using this formula in your subject line: Note Name @Notebook Name #Tag Name !YYYY/MM/DD
So, for example you’ll put PBEVENT schedule @PBEVENT #blogging #pbevent !2015/08/14 and it will be sent directly to the notebook you’ve set up for general #PBEVENT information.
Handy Hint: I leave that formula in a note on my laptop so when I forget (which I do often), I can check easily what the format is.
Using the Notebooks:
Create a Notebook for each session you want to take notes in (you can do this as you go, no need to do it in advance unless you want to!). Use the tags Blogging, and PBEVENT and any other relevant tag (if it’s an SEO session, or a WordPress session, etc) so you’ll be able to find them again later, depending on which tag is most relevant to you at the time.
Write your notes either in either the Notebook that corresponds to the session, in the notes section of your phone, in an email, or with a pen in your physical notebook that you’ve brought with you. In that case, take a photo with your phone of those pages.
All notes filed with all relevant images. Yay Evernote!
Take photos of the slides you don’t have time to write down either within the Evernote app, or just with the camera app (which is usually how I do it, given I’ve whipped it out at the last second to catch something), and any other relevant detail you’d like to remember – a photo of the speaker, for example. When the session is over, you can use the “select” mode in your photo roll to select all the images that correspond to that session (Including the one of the notes you wrote in your book) and choose the Evernote app to send them to. In the Evernote app, you can then upload them to their proper notebook.
You can see here I’ve added this image to the Fuel Your Passion notebook and added the tag “blogging”.
This is also useful for anything else you’d like to remember – take photos of your room number, the menu at dinner if you’ll write about it in the future, other people’s notes, map directions to the nearest bottle shop or 2am kebab place (that could just be me), attendees holding their business card, so you know who belongs to what card later, that sort of thing. Upload them to the general notebook you’ve set up for conference information, but tag them where you’ll find them most useful later.
Evernote also has location services so you can geotag where your note was created. Fun!
Using the Contacts
Speaking of business cards, Evernote also has a scanner that will upload all of the information into its searchable database. Very handy to keep all the contact info organized and means you don’t have to take all those loose cards home with you (unless you collect them!)
Using the Reminders
Now this is super useful if, like me, you go home all gung-ho with ideas that fizzle out two weeks later and you forget everything you learned so eagerly not so long ago. You can set a reminder for sometime in the future that these notes are here, and they’re full of useful information and hey, why not read them again? You can also set them for a specific time you know you’re going to be focusing on that particular topic, so if you’re launching a newsletter in November, remind yourself to read the email marketing notes in early October. Your future self will thank you!
There are a ton of ways you can use Evernote with blogging and life in general, and if you give me five minutes I’ll talk your ear off about it. But for now, go forth, snap pics, upload, and organize like a champ. Then tell me where the nearest bottle shop is and we’ll party.
*Only a slight exaggeration.