TUESDAY TIPS - Evernote for Conference Attendees

I recently attended the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas, and Evernote was instrumental in keeping me organized and in the right place at the right time. From research to travel plans to meeting notes to following up afterwards, Evernote was a hub for all of my conference information.

DSE2013-4

The Process

I manage content for all of our digital signage. Currently we have a few hundred screens in our showrooms and counters. So when my boss suggested I attend DSE 2013, I was all for it. I had no idea digital signage was big enough to warrant its own expo, so I started doing some research online. I created a notebook (DSE2013) just for this event, and whenever I found useful information, I grabbed it with the Evernote Web Clipper and sent it to the DSE2013 notebook. Once I registered, all my registration information went into the event notebook. Travel itineraries, rental car information, packing lists, all additional conference emails, even a list of restaurants I wanted to try in Vegas went into the notebook.

When I fly out of PDX, I always park in the Thrifty Airport Parking lot. They give me a card with my parking spot number on it, but I have a habit of losing that card. So as soon as I got it, I snapped a photo and added it to Evernote.

Thrifty_spot_card-3

Once in Vegas, I dropped my room number into a note by itself. I don't usually forget my hotel room number, but it never hurts to be thorough. Especially in Vegas.

During the conference sessions, I used Notability to take handwritten notes on my iPad. Penultimate is a great alternative for handwritten iPad notes, but I've found Notability works better for me. Once I was done with a session, I sent a PDF of my notes to Evernote. Notability doesn't have native Evernote integration, but emailing a PDF to my secret Evernote email address works like a charm.

HandwrittenNote

Every receipt I received was added to Evernote with the Page Camera feature and tagged with "receipt". I don't like to spend a lot of time during the day organizing things, but I've found that using a single tag for receipts makes doing an expense report later a lot easier.

During breaks, I wandered through the conference. If I talked to a vendor, I added their business card to Evernote Hello, along with some notes as to why I wanted to follow up with them. Occasionally, I grabbed a photo or two and added those to Evernote, as well. I made sure to copy a PDF of the expo floor layout into Evernote so I could find my way around easily.

Expo_floor_layout

By the time the conference ended, I had a single notebook containing all relevant Digital Signage Expo information. When I got home, I used the merge feature in Evernote to combine all my receipt notes into one all-inclusive receipt note. When I do my expense report, I can export all the receipt images into a folder, then combine them to a PDF to upload.

Finally, after going through all my notes again, I did a quick but thorough write-up about the conference, including any ideas I had for our own digital signage programming, and saved it in Evernote. From there, I can send it to my boss, his boss, or anyone else that might be interested in what I managed to learn at the conference. I also created an index note with links to all of my handwritten notes.

Why use Evernote?

I used to keep all this information in a manilla folder, and drop it in my laptop bag when I went on trips. All my receipts would go in the folder, and with any luck, everything would remain in the folder until I got back home. While there's nothing wrong with this approach, it can be a pain when you have to carry that folder around with you everywhere. With Evernote, all I have to carry is my phone or iPad. No matter what device I used to actually get the information into Evernote, that information is available to me on all of my devices. I don't have to dig through a folder to find something, and I know I won't lose anything before I return home.

Using Evernote for events and conferences is simple, and I like simple. I can concentrate more on the event, and less on remembering where to put everything.

Have you used Evernote as a resource when attending conferences? If not, what do you use to compile conference information?