If you look at the list of suggestions in my “Getting the Best out of Bett” guide, some of which I reproduced in 5 Things to do after attending Bett, nothing leaps out as being “strategic”. But there are a couple of things, as I’ll explain in a moment. And that is tremendously important.
It would be very easy indeed to spend a day or two after an event, especially a long one like Bett, just dealing with the backlog of emails and work, but not actually doing anything that will help future growth. I suppose it’s a bit like clearing a financial debt: very important to do, but it’s putting some money into an interest-bearing account that will reap benefits in the longer term.
Usually I end up “paying off the debt”, but this time around I was determined to do something strategic, rather than just plough through a long to-do list of items like “check email from Tuesday before Bett”. So, I was pleased to have achieved three things:
- Discussed some work with a potential client who contacted me just before Bett;
- Updated the Testimonials section of the ICT in Education website with comments I received from a recent professional development course I taught;
- Updated the “About Terry Freedman” section of the website with a couple of paragraphs headed “My recent work (2012-2013)”.
In the article I referred to above, the two obvious strategic elements are “Plan ahead” and “Meet the leaders”. If you saw a product you liked, try to arrange a free trial. If you met a teacher or headteacher who impressed you, secure an invitation to visit their school.
Meeting the senior leadership team is crucial, not just for the sake of future planning but because (a) if you do so as soon as possible after the Bett show your enthusiasm is likely to be infectious; and (b) it’s important to make sure the top brass know, I mean really know, that you weren't having an away-day on some sort of junket. If they can see that there is potentially tangible benefit, perhaps even to the whole school, they will be much more likely to let you attend next year.