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Earlier last month we talked about networking and tactics you can use to prepare yourself when working the room in an event. We all know preparation is one of those major keys to success, and preparing yourself for conferences and meeting people can prove effective for entrepreneurs. But we’d also argue that taking time to absorb the information learned, and reflecting on who you met and what you discussed can help to maximize your experiences.

Why is self-reflection important for entrepreneurs?

Self-reflection is actually important to everyone, but it can especially be true for those of us who tend to be a jack-of-all-trades. When entrepreneurs take on a lot of responsibility, they also take on the need to be learning, growing, and expanding skill sets faster than most other people. After attending a conference or event, setting aside time to assess what you experienced can help you to better process and absorb all the information and new knowledge you’ve come across. The alternative that typically happens is that whirlwind events turn into a blur of faces and soundbites, without us being able to transform the new learnings into actionable activities.

All during childhood we are taught information and new concepts, and then we’re tested on our absorption of that knowledge. But standard practice and years of experience shows us that hearing or reading something once often isn’t enough for us to prove we fully understand. As adults, it’s rare that we “study” something after we hear it or learn it. But the methodology of reviewing something so that we may actually put to use our newfound knowledge is something we could all stand to benefit from.

How to use self-reflection and make assessments after an event

Like we’ve said before, preparation is a golden key, and even in post-event reflection you’re off to a better start if you’ve prepared for it ahead of time. When you’re at a conference watching speakers, make notes anyway that you like. But make sure they are clear enough that you remember and understand what they mean when you go back to them. You may be an old fashioned pencil-and-paper kind of person, or maybe you’d rather take them on your phone. Either way, writing down the key points that resonate with you, or notes about people that you meet is the best way to start off your reflection later on.

Go back to those notes soon after the event or conference. If you wait too long, you risk forgetting important gaps in your notes, or things that you’ve referred to. Go through each keynote speaker and any tips they’ve provided that you want to implement in your life or work. Add them to your to-do list. Go through business cards you’ve collected, or new LinkedIn connections (remember Ana’s tips?) and make notes about mutual interests, partnership or business opportunities, and reminders for following up with them. Add them to your to-do list.

Entrepreneurs are not known for their organizational skills as much as their ability to multitask, but when we consciously take time to process what we’ve learned and what we’ve done, that future multitasking can actually become much easier.

Recently, Oresund Startups News reflected on their experiences at Camp Ven, the entrepreneurial summer camp hosted by Mindpark and others. Find out what they had to say about this opportunity for learning and sharing ideas between startups and entrepreneurs in the Nordics.