Leadership Retreats Resources

A Guide to Maximizing Your Next Development Event - WinShape Teams

A Practical Guide to Maximizing Your Next Development Event

October 4, 2022
Lead Teams
Nathaniel Gaydosik

How many times have you attended a conference or training, gotten excited and motivated to do things differently, then came home and quickly lost steam? We often talk about how each individual day of a development event is good for about one week of behavior change, but at WinShape Teams we are fighting hard to change that, not just with our experiences, but any conference or training you may attend.

The purpose of this guide is to equip leaders with a road map for maximizing the impact of catalytic events like retreats, conferences, or leadership summits. 

Use this guide in planning, reflection, discussion, one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and journaling in conjunction with your notes. You may want to bookmark this and schedule a time to read it a week before your next conference or event! 


The key to success for maximizing an event is carving out intentional time to reflect, share, plan, and act. 


Time is the non-negotiable ingredient for creating real change. This time can be spent introspectively focused, collaborating with one individual, rallying a group, or engaging a third party like a coach to increase your momentum.  

A Guide to Maximizing Your Next Conference or Training - WinShape Teams

Included in this Guide

  1. A post-event checklist for leaders 
  2. Ideas for meetings – topics, questions, and reminders 
  3. Self-reflection questions for you 
  4. Discussion questions for you and a trusted advisor

We recommend at a bare minimum having time set aside to reflect and follow-up on what you learned, track progress, and re-establish norms or goals.

Leader’s Road Map for turning a catalytic event into real change:


Before the Event


Identify a major outcome you hope to accomplish. Examples: advance a current skill, discover and explore something new, or network and connect with others. 

ABA Technologies recommends, 

For learning goals, ask yourself: 

  • What do I want to learn? 
  • What questions do I want answered? 
  • What type of information do I need? 
  • How can I expand my knowledge and expertise? 


For networking goals, ask yourself: 

  • Who do I want to meet? 
  • What relationships can I strengthen or start? 
  • What kinds of professionals could I collaborate with? 


Share your intended outcome with someone and ask them to follow up after the event.

Prepare your note taking strategy. Establish a “to-do” list in the back of your notebook, as well as a contact list, or system for indicating follow up items. Being prepared and organized will maximize your attentiveness during the sessions. 

A Guide to Maximizing Your Next Conference or Training - WinShape Teams

During the Event

Practice active listening and note-taking. Research shows taking notes by hand on paper improves memory and retention. 

Engage with the information. Ask yourself questions about what the speaker just said, think about how you might apply what the speaker is talking about to your own work, or try to reframe what the speaker said in plain language. This is especially important during discussion times or breakout sessions. 

Add to your to-do list things that you want to do following the talk. Could be read an article or book or apply a new strategy or procedure. 

After the Event

Schedule a consistent time to set aside for reflection and planning following the retreat. We recommend the following timeline for reflection and planning:

Reflect 1-5 days out

Schedule and attend a check-in with yourself.

Look through your notes.

Ask yourself intentional questions and journal your answers:

  • What stood out during the event and what stands out today?
  • What major theme(s) did I discover? 
  • What micro action(s) would be easiest for me to start right now?  
  • What is a long-term goal I could chase for 90 days?  
  • What is the most important thing in my leadership journey do I need to focus on after the retreat? 
  • What action steps did I commit to after each session? 


Plan within 14 days  

Execute a check-in with your leader following the conference. Reconnect, reflect, and remember. Share a major learning and one intention you committed to while at the retreat. How is that intention going? 

Schedule a time with your teammates to share major learnings and ideas from the event. The best way to solidify learning is to teach! 


Plan within 30 days

Schedule time for introspection and collaboration, or engage with a coach to discuss the retreat learnings.

Reflect & self-evaluate:

  • What have you been focused on? What’s working?  
  • What isn’t working? What could you do differently going forward? 
  • In which area do you feel you have the greatest strengths?  
  • How can you better leverage those strengths this month?  
  • Which area has the most opportunity for growth?  
  • What intention or goal would you like to set around that?  
  • How would you like support? How can you ask for that support? 


🎧 Pro Tip!

Set the tone for a high quality reflection session and turn our Office Vibes playlist on low volume while you do your best thinking. It’s all instrumental!

No matter the conference, event, or retreat, using this guide and setting aside time to plan, engage, and reflect will improve your learning retention and solidify your action steps, leading to measurable change!  

Leadership Summits - Individual Retreats at WinShape Teams - EntreLeadership - GLS

Put Your Next Development Event on the Calendar and Attend a Leadership Retreat

Held throughout the year at our beautiful, sequestered campus in Mount Berry, Georgia, our 3-day Summits provide you with leadership concepts, guidance, and best practices to help you grow alongside your peers.