I started the day with Thom Fox, extrovert extraordinaire, who gave a great presentation on taking online relationships offline. You know, take it from a tweet to the street. He’s right, there’s still a lot to be said for face-to-face networking. It’s too easy to get stuck behind the screen, to fool ourselves into thinking that connecting on LinkedIn, or getting a new follower on Twitter is enough. Face-to-face shores up trust, tightens bonds, and ultimately opens more doors of mutual opportunity.
Speaking of Extroverts
There were some surprising “out-of-the-box” sessions this year. The first I attended was by Val Nelson, a business/career coach who specializes in introverts.
Being a proud introvert I had to attend Val’s session on, “Are Introverts Better at Online Networking?”. Because, duh.
Val got us started by having everyone stand up, and then posed a series of questions to us which we “answered” by moving to one side of the room or the other depending on “where we stood” on the question. Example, “if you think introverts are better at offline networking, stand on that side of the room. If you think extroverts are better at offline networking, go to that side of the room.”
Once we had taken a “stand”, she then engaged us in discussions about why we thought the way we did. The attendees were a pretty even mix of introverts and extroverts. The last question was, “if you think introverts should learn to be more extroverted, go to that side of the room, and if you think introverts are fine the way they are, go to that side of the room”, or something like that.
As soon as I heard the question, I marched with purpose to the “no way I need more extroversion in my life” side of the room. I happen to like being introverted. I also happen to think our culture needs to get on board with understanding and utilizing the unique strengths of introversion. (Watch for an upcoming post on “How to be an Introvert Ninja”.)
Then it was My Turn
I practically stroked out the night before podcamp. I always get anxious before events, but considering I was presenting twice at Podcamp Western Ma, it’s a miracle I got more than two hours of sleep. (Thank you family for not throwing me to the curb that night – I was an awful grump.)
I offered a discussion session on “Stop Wasting Time in Social Media”. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine that people feel overwhelmed and pressured by social media marketing. We talked about taking time on the front end of things to save time later. Less on the shortcut tools, and more on laying the groundwork that will keep strategies focused and relevant.
Friendly and interesting input was abundant. It was Podcamp after all.
Then Paul Bogush Blew Our Minds
It was the second to last session of the day, and the session I had tentatively picked was tucked into a corner at the end of a quiet hallway. The session stickie for “Body Talk” had not named the presenter, and only a couple of people were in the room. I was starting to question my choice, but realized I was early.
Paul Bogush walked in a few minutes later and got the session underway. Within 5 minutes I was not only NOT questioning my session choice anymore, I was feeling sorry for the rest of Podcamp for not being there. Paul was blowing our minds with rapid fire analysis of body language and what it means to networking or to the choice of photos we use on our websites. Of course I’m wildly partial to behavior hacks, but the rest of the attendees seemed pretty blown away too.
At the end of the session, I forbade Paul from attending my next session. I didn’t want him in the audience judging my body language, thank you very much. He came anyway.
So There I was…
Last session slot of the day, Paul Bogush right in my line of sight, Seth Kaye snapping photos, everyone starting to lose focus with one mental foot out the door and ready for the after-party socializing. Had I thought about any one of these things I probably would’ve thrown up, or at the very least, gotten a bad case of nervous-dry-mouth.
But I didn’t think about any of those things, and that’s the beauty of talking about something you’re passionate about at Podcamp.
I presented on The Psychological Profiles of Social Media Platforms. In other words, each social media platform has a psychological context, a certain “head space” we’re in when on that particular site. So when the audience asks, “what’s in it for me?”, they are asking from within a sub-context and knowing what that head space is matters a lot to understanding what kind of content will appeal to an audience.
My daughter found this photo hilarious. You know, irony.
And then it was over.
Well mostly, there was the after-party of course, which was great fun and I met at least 3 or 4 more people who I hadn’t met during the day’s sessions.
All in all, Podcamp 5 was an energizing, educational, and fun event. And I’ve watched that energy continue after podcamp with videos, and photos, and blog posts, and follow up phone calls and emails, and lunch dates with new friends, and even a new community on Google+.
See you next year at Podcamp!
**PHOTO CREDITS – the amazing, ever-present, ever-smiling, ever-makes-you-so-comfortable-you-forget-he’s-photographing, Seth Kaye.