Post EAG(x): Making the most out of your connectionspost by Simon27 · 2022-08-04T01:08:34.984Z · EA · GW · None comments
This article is for you, if you … What implementing the below algorithm should help you with? Motivation An observation On taking notes Algorithm Example Closing Remark None No comments
You had a great EAG(x) conference and connected with a lot of awesome people, likely by having quite some 1on1s? This is great and a vital element that sets us up for having a large impact, as well as building life-long friendships.
This article is for you, if you …
- are slightly overwhelmed by all the conversations & information that you were exposed to during the conference.
- think that all the valuable information that has been exchanged should not “dissipate” without any follow-ups.
- took notes or not any at all.
- are new to the movement or think that being better organized is a personal growth area.
What implementing the below algorithm should help you with?
- Overcoming information blur caused by a high number of conversations.
- Avoiding “dissipation” of valuable information that is now still fresh in your mind.
- Increasing the likelihood of you following up with the most valuable next steps.
- Free bonus: Mentally revisiting all the great moments and people.
Asking individuals how EAG San Francisco 2022 went for them, two things stood out for me. On the upside, everyone seemed grateful for the highly relevant conversations they had. On the downside, quite some mentioned having had little or no time to process all the valuable information, rushing from one meetup to the next. Sounds familiar to you? No worries, we can all relate to that. The motivation for this article is to provide you with an easy algorithm to create actionable follow-ups.
On taking notes
If you took notes during your conversations, this is great! Processing them as early as possible is the vital next step, as otherwise we risk “information dissipation”. It is when we can’t make sense of how the words & concepts relate to each other any longer, not being able to return to the mental state we were in when we took the notes. The longer we wait the more severe this effect gets.
In case you did not take any notes, don't worry. As long as the discussed topics are still somewhat fresh in your mind, the below algorithm should help you to keep momentum going. Still, you might consider taking notes the next time, as otherwise most of the value is lost. The most successful EAs are not those who can recall everything by heart, but those who set up a working note-taking system.
One note on how to best contribute to your understanding when reading this. Jumping between Algorithm (this section) and Example below is likely most effective in helping you to apply it to your own situation. Let’s get started:
- People: Go to the place where you can see all the amazing people that you met (likely your personal notes, Calendar app or Swapcard). Write them in a document, spreadsheet or any other note-taking software of your choice.
- Conversation Topic: Recall the 1-2 most vivid topics you discussed per person and write those done next to them. Don’t worry if nothing comes up for someone specific. Even if it was a great connection, pot. the topic was not so relevant for your trajectory.
- Goals: Zoom out and recall any of the big goals that you planned to make progress on during the conference. Note them down and match them with People and Conversation Topics.
- Note: You should now have 3 columns as in the example (image) below. If you did not set any specific goals for the conference try to set 1-3 goals now and see which topics align with them. If none align, your most important learning here is to set aside time for specific goal-setting before the next conference. That being said, having inspiring conversations for exploratory purposes is great and necessary to figure out how to contribute more good, but is not necessarily setting us up for impact and growth.
- Followup Action: Based on the Conversation Topic in alignment with your Goals, what are the most valuable follow-up actions? Limit it to maximum 5 topics that have the highest value and create action items for them first. Write them in a 4th column and proceed to the next point. Return only after you finish point 5 for your highest priority topics. Then you might return to follow up with lower priority items.
- Note: Don’t force an action item for each topic if it doesn’t feel called for. However, be aware that even something like a new insight might cause a follow-up action (“insight processing”). In that specific case, ask yourself: What topic did the insight bring value to and how to best process it? In the example below you see that a rather casual 1on1 with Daniel yielded a potentially efficient way to go about workouts.
- Schedule actions: Go to your (digital) calendar and block out time for the action.
- Purpose: A to-do list is nice, but it does not allocate a specific time slot to the action. Thus, a common failure mode is that important tasks often get pushed aside by urgent ones. Blocking out time is a very helpful method to avoid getting side-tracked and leaves space for the important. Note: Switching from to-do lists to calendar for all my duties was one of the highest impact things I did with regards to time-management.
- Getting started: Don’t overthink how much time you block out if this is new for you. Rather aim for iterative improvements. It is totally normal that you will figure out having blocked out too little time. In this case create another follow-up slot at the end of the initial slot. On the other hand, if you blocked out too much time, celebrate it and use the remaining time for something else. Being exposed to both of these scenarios (too short & long) will get us better calibrated and make us time-management masters in the long run.
If you implemented the algorithm above, the outcome should look similar to the below sketch.
Some more context:
- Talking to Alice and Bob aligned with the goal that was set for the conference.
- The conversation with Clara was directed by her goal. Thus, the next action to take is bringing further value to her.
- Casually bumping into Daniel, the conversation shifted to workouts and how to best integrate those in our days by leveraging the 80/20 principle. In this process he shared a Youtube channel that seems to teach a quite useful mode, we might want to check out (“insight processing”, see above).
This is my first forum post after having been inspired by a talk Lizka gave at EAG San Francisco 2022. It is hard to judge how many people will benefit from the algorithm vs. find the content obvious. However, I try to integrate some mental models that should make it especially useful for people who are new to the movement. If you think it is well structured and valuable, please share this post with your friends and upvote, so I can prioritize writing more in the future. Happy to get any feedback as well. Thanks for reading, commenting & sharing!
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