I'm one of those people who get frustrated with meetings that, while everyone agrees they were great and life-changing, don't end up changing anything after all. Sure, we participated in great discussions, learned new things, etc., at the meeting, but then inertia took over and we might as well never have had the experience for all the good it ends up doing. Hey, it happens. A lot.
Which is why I loved this post on inspiring meeting participants to take action by Adrian Segar. I've seen what he calls the personal introspective in play at many conferences now (where people are given some time to think about and write down what they've learned and how they plan to implement it), and he's right, it definitely does help you filter through everything you learned to see which bits you can actually apply, and how. But it's the plus/delta that really got me, because that's where we so often fall short.
As he explains it (and do go read the post—I'm really short-changing it here), after people do their individual ruminating, they regather as a group and list the pluses (actions they want to work on) and deltas (issues that concern them but they don't know how to address). I think we can get so bogged down in the latter that we kind of forget to do what we actually can do. And publicly sharing both would help solidify the intention to actually do something with what was learned.
I like Adrian's simple, easy-to-do and I'd bet pretty effective approach. Another thing I saw once was a presenter had us write down what we intended to do on a postcard, which we self-addressed. He collected the cards, then mailed them to us three months later. I know, that gets expensive, but there are so many other ways we can do something similar electronically.
What do you do to encourage people to take action after they get back to the office?