Write a 1-pager for your boss
Okay, so it’s Monday morning after your conference or event and you’re finally caught up on email! So what’s the first big new idea you want to cross off your to-do list?
Back up first. You’re going to want to write a quick one-pager for your boss and their boss, summarizing what you learned, thanking them for letting you go to the event, and suggesting next steps. You want to send this as soon as you possibly can on your first day back in the office. It’s straight up just good manners and helps remind your boss that there was real value to the company for sending you to the event or training.
If you’ve already completed the exercise to organize and review your notes, then you’re mostly done! You’ve already identified several key takeaways and thought about how they could be directly applicable to your new organization.
The formula for a simple but effective memo looks like this:
Dear Boss and Their Boss,
Thanks so much for supporting my attendance at [conference name] this year.
I wanted to share a few big ideas that stuck out to me:
- FOUR (it doesn’t have to be four, but it probably shouldn’t be more than four)
I THINK this is how we can take one of those big themes and apply it directly to our news organization both in the near and longer term. (see below for some suggested ways to do this)
- include a short summary of any interesting job candidates you met
- E.g.: “I know we’re hiring for a new social media director and I met a really interesting potential candidate. Here’s her resume and a link to her portfolio.”
- pass along any praise or positive feedback you heard about your shop
- E.g.: “I kept hearing really nice things from other attendees about our new newsletter style.” Or “Our membership program got a shoutout by XYZ Speaker during their session.”
- mention any mutual contacts you met or spoke with
- E.g.: “I ran into XYZ Important Person and they said you all went to college together and they say hello!”
- if you gave a talk or led a session, let them know how it went.
- E.g.: “Great, I got a lot of questions and people seemed really engaged with the topic.”
- If you’re not sure how it went, go with the observable facts: “Lots more people than I expected showed up,” or “I got some really kind feedback.”
NEXT STEPS: This is how I think we should move forward / this is how I’d like to share what I learned with my team and my colleagues across the newsroom.
Thank you again, Your Name Here __
If you aren’t sure what your big themes are, try answering one or more of these questions to help you boil it down:
- What topic kept coming up in discussion but there wasn’t a session for it?
- What questions do you still have about what you learned?
- What surprised you to learn about how other newsrooms do things?
- What do you think your team is doing better at or worse at, compared to the methods and techniques you saw/learned about?
- Based on what I learned, what is my new goal for myself or my team or my newsroom?
- What do I want to try first?
- What seems like low-hanging fruit that our newsroom can try or experiment with?
If you aren’t sure how to make those themes actionable, try suggestions such as:
- Host a brown bag lunch with the staff to give a high-level overview of what you learned
- Host a small, focused, deep-dive skillsharing session with staff based on role (all reporters, everyone on the science desk, all social/audience staff, etc)
- Send a list of resources and ideas around as a newsroom memo
- Upload a list of resources to a newsroom Slack channel
- Put together a brainstorming session around a particular topic
- Call for a working group with members from different teams to study a particular idea or topic
- Approach a single staffer from another department to try collaborating on a new idea
This resource is part of the OpenNews After Party toolkit, developed by Emma Carew Grovum. It’s meant to help you get the most out of SRCCON—or any journalism event—and share what you learn with your own organization. The toolkit is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, and we’d love to see you use or adapt it for your own event—all we need is a link back here.
We’d also be thrilled to hear how you put what you learn into practice, so please tweet us at #OpenNewsAfterParty, or if you have any questions, let us know!