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Section 6: Postgame

Congratulations! Your event was a smashing success! You just spent several of the most rewarding days of your life strutting your conference’s stuff. The contests were competitive and exciting, your attendance was great,
and each of your member schools made an impact on thousands of people, which means you as a conference left a positive, indelible mark on an entire community.

So you’re done, right? Nope.

You’ve probably come away from events that you’ve either been a part of or managed yourselves and said, “Well, I wish we had done such and such differently,” or “Man, we have to remember not to do such and such that way again next year.” And then time passes and you forget what you swore you’d remember.

That’s why as soon as your event ends you should start formally planning for the next one, even though your brain is saying, “Let’s take a few weeks off.” And that means convening your core group, talking things through and writing down what you want to change – perhaps even brainstorming about how to make those changes. That way, when time passes, instead of scrambling to remember what you’d thought of months ago, you can pat yourselves on the back for having a new plan at your fingertips.

Let’s assume that you’ve taken notes throughout
the event on how things went. If so, then during your debriefing, ask the team what worked, what didn’t work, and what really didn’t work.

If something didn’t work and you can tweak it, OK, but don’t get hung up on stuff that didn’t work if you
can replace it or do it better next time. In other words, acknowledge what happened, address the easy stuff, and discard the failures.

The important takeaway here is that you must be willing to change. There’s another old saying that goes something like: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

Community engagement is an ongoing pursuit. The good news is that because you had the passion and vision in place, because you communicated so well throughout the process and because you had a team that was willing to go the extra mile to make it all work, your community engagement event most likely was the best thing you’ve ever done as a conference.

It was indeed your time to shine, and you left a “bright” impression!