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The buzz of ideas on returning from a conference

And the challenge of transfer of learning.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of posts on LinkedIn from people attending conferences (CASE’s CEAC, aasp Summit, Apra PD 2022, ADRP 2022, to name just a few of the recent conferences within the fundraising sector in which I worked for many years). Conferences can be a great way to network, exchange ideas, learn from luminaries in the sector, hone your presentation skills and discover innovations and new ways of working that increase team effectiveness and enhance one’s own performance. I’ve experienced that feeling of energy and motivation on returning from a conference, with a multitude of ideas buzzing around in my head and a list of improvements or new ways of doing things that I am keen to get going on.

However, it’s often difficult to implement the great ideas that you bring back from a conference or training course once you return to your regular busy work environment. The transfer of learning from trainings back to the workplace has been extensively researched (for example, Blume et al., 2010). Findings indicate that learning transfer can be limited and depends on a range of factors. One factor is a supportive work environment, for example, where there are opportunities to try out new learnings. Another relates to how the new knowledge enhances the feeling of self-efficacy, where the individual has additional resources to draw upon. New learnings can be quickly forgotten if they are not applied in a timely way (Glaveski, 2019). This significantly reduces the return on investment of that recently attended conference!

One way to translate your idea list into outcomes is to work with a coach. Individual coaching focuses on what you want to achieve. Coaching is tailored to you and creates the time for reflection and planning that you can rarely prioritise during a busy working week. Coaching can also help you to become more motivated and accountable towards the areas that you would like to implement or change.

A coaching series is also an excellent alternative way to invest your professional development budget if you have not attended a conference or training course recently. Working with a coach will support you to think about specific areas of your role or career path, how you show up at work and help you to gain insights about how your thinking and behaviours may be limiting you or holding you back in your career. Your coach then helps you to experiment with new ways of doing things, practicing them to build a new habit and implementing the changes that are most effective.

October is a good time to be thinking about and planning for your professional and personal development, especially for those in the higher education sector as the new academic year starts. Get in touch if you would like to set an intention to implement your new ideas or work on a particular aspect of your behaviours to grow in your role and career.



Blume, B. D., Ford, J. K., Baldwin, T. T. and Huang, J. L. (2010). Transfer of training: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Management, 36 (4), 1065-1105.

Glaveski, S. (2019). Where companies go wrong with learning and development, Harvard Business Review, [Online]. Available from: [Accessed September 2022].


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