On January 20th 1997, while I was holidaying in The Netherlands, I started my adventure into the corporate world with a new job at IBM, as a Customer Support Representative for the Mainframe. 16 years later that adventure continues, and big time!, still having just as much fun as I did in Day One. So much so that later on this week I will begin tasting the Joy of Business Travelling, once again, and that this year is going to take me to a good number of countries and continents I haven’t visited just yet, for which I am really excited about, as you can imagine. But, for now, I’m starting to get things ready for IBM Connect 2013, which kicks off on January 27th till the 31st, and which surely promises to be one of those events difficult to forget around the space of Social Business. Are you ready?
Well, before you answer that question, and while you may want to go ahead and check out the superb agenda put in place, I would like to ask you to go and have a look into the wonderful short article put together by the one and only, Seth Godin, on the topic of “When a conference works (and doesn’t)“. What a delightful read packed up with plenty of helpful tips on how to build, perhaps, a new strategy, in case you haven’t done so in the past, when attending face to face conference events, like I am about to do later on this month.
I thought perhaps for today’s blog post I would go ahead and highlight a couple of those tips that I thought would be worth while sharing across and which match, somewhat, some of my own experiences attending face to face conference events in the recent past. As a starting point:
“[…] someone is going to say or do something that might just change everything. Something that happens in the moment and can’t possibly be the same if you hear about it later […] In the digital age, if I can get the notes or the video later, I will“
Indeed, this is what I have been telling folks over and over again. Focus on the face to face conversations, the networking aspects of the event, specially, with those folks who 1. You may not know just yet, so you can keep expanding your network beyond your usual suspects or echo chamber(s) and 2. You may not be able to see them F2F again throughout the remaining of the year. Think of it as your last chance in the year to catch up with them F2F. Don’t waste that opportunity. Seize it and make the most out of it. The notes, and video streaming, indeed, you can always get them later. No doubt. The conversations, you won’t.
“[…] If there’s vulnerability and openness and connection […]“
This is something that I am going to be trying it out myself quite a bit in numerous other conference events this year, but certainly going to kick if off at IBM Connect 2013. Actually, not just me, but two of my co-presenters and myself, when on Tuesday 29th at 5:30pm local time, we will go up on stage to kick off our session on “Pardon the Interruption at IBM Connect 2013” around Social Business, Adoption Techniques, Enablement, Collaboration, Online Communities and Social Networking for Business in general. Perhaps even a bit on Open Business as well, why not?
Yes, that will be the time when “The Three Louie” (Louis Richardson, Luis Benitez and yours truly) will throw themselves into the lions living through that vulnerability, openness and connection in chunks of 3 minutes at a time with whatever the question folks in the audience may well have around all of these topics related to social networking for business. We are currently gathering questions over in Twitter under #ptisocialbiz so if you happen to attend IBM Connect 2013 as well and have got a burning question you would want to share with us, drop it over there and we will grab it for the session. If not, take them with you and ask them live while we are all there. Perhaps even more fun to show how vulnerable we may all well be with the unexpected! After all, what are the chances for you to see The Three Louie on stage at any given conference event? It’s a rare occasion, I can tell you that, since it will be the first time we are all three on stage on the same session. That promises to be plenty of really good fun, I can guarantee you that! Even more if you look into the time of the day for our slot and what we may be bringing up with us along the way …
Following further along on Seth’s reflections about face to face events and how to get the most benefits from them, here’s one of my favourite quotes from the entire post:
“(At most events, competitiveness born from insecurity trumps mutual support)“
And you know why that happens in most cases? At least, in my own opinion? Well, mostly because, due to that competitiveness flair going around, people who attend face to face conferences don’t have a tendency to be generous on the information, knowledge and experiences they share. Quite the opposite. They are always a little bit reluctant to share openly what drives their passion, their interests and their motivation to attend the event, just because they feel they need to protect something: their selves. Well, not really. This is pretty much what I have been saying for years around the well known mantra of “Knowledge is power“. Yes, it is, of course, it always has been and always will be. But make it square, please! It’s “Knowledge SHARED is power”.
Indeed, the more you share generously about what you are doing, what you know, what you are good at demonstrating your thought leadership, the much more powerful you become, because it’s that visibility at conference events that clearly highlights how you will continue to build those strong personal business relationships. So get out of your comfort zone a little bit. Throw yourself into the lions, once again, of those who are thirsty for your knowledge and share it across generously. What’s the worst thing that can happen? That they now possess your knowledge? So what? You are the one who knows the most about that piece of knowledge or information in the first place and you would just need to remember that we, human beings, are just so bad in documenting and transferring our knowledge across through oral or written forms that no matter how much you share openly you would still be the one who knows the most about that particular subject. Always. Do remember the brilliant KM principles from my good friend Dave Snowden on Rendering Knowledge that would still apply and very much so. Don’t forget that tidbit that most people seem to ignore time and time again since they decide to go the easy way out: hoarding their knowledge. Don’t! Share it generously. For your own benefit and for the benefit of your networks. They will remember you for that.
As Seth mentions in a rather smart and succinct manner on his blog post, you will become their hero because you have finally realised, at long last, you don’t have much to lose, but a lot to win.
[Really looking forward to seeing everyone at IBM Connect 2013 and, please, don't be shy. If we bump into each other, say "Hi!". It's the greeting that kicks off the magic of serendipitous knowledge discoveries from conversations you may have with your networks and other people!]
Not long ago I mentioned over here in this blog how one of the many reasons why I went through that extended blogging hiatus towards the end of 2012 was due to a rather intense business travelling schedule that took me on a tour of several different European countries to participate, as a speaker, on various conference events, customer meetings, enablement workshops and so forth. Intense is probably the right word to describe what it was like, but another one that I can think about would be memorable. I do have, indeed, plenty of fond memories about the vast majority of those events, but if there is one that has got a special place in my heart is that one event that kicked off last year and which raised the stakes incredibly high on its first edition to the point where it will always be in my thoughts not only because of the tremendously energising vibe it had all around it, throughout, but mainly because of the amazing experience of attending, speaking and participating in an event like no other in search for something that I am starting to feel we need nowadays more than ever: Meaning.
Of course, I am talking about the Meaning 2012 conference event that took place in Brighton, UK, on October 1st and that three months later I am still remembering it as it were just yesterday. What an amazing event! Not only was the quality of the agenda and speakers top notch (I had the privilege of being one of them giving me a unique opportunity to continue learning from the greatest and the most unexpected), but the atmosphere around it was just electrifying and incredibly energising. The amount of hard work and the dedication to make things right, the incredibly warm sense of hospitality we enjoyed while in there, and the humanity shown throughout the entire event by folks, now really good friends, like Will McInnes and Lou Ash, along with the rest of the NixonMcIness team!, was absolutely a pure delight. Something other conference events should mimic and learn from a great deal! And all of that on their first edition!
There have been several different blog posts, articles, references, highlights shared across by a good number of folks who attended the event, which have made it quite a rewarding experience going through as I am writing down this blog entry, remembering the wonderful event that we got exposed to over the course of a single day and, most importantly, the sharing of some of the most brilliant ideas we got to exchange and share openly not just from the speakers themselves, but also from people attending the event live with all of the networking that went on and on and on. A delightful experience all around!
That’s why I couldn’t help resisting the urge to create this blog post where I could point folks to the recordings of the various different speakers, which you can find them all right over here, so that you could have a look and go through each and everyone of them. At your own pace, whenever you would want to. They are all worth it. Big time.
As usual, and like I have been doing over the last few months, I did a bunch of live tweeting from the event itself as well, and I then captured all of those annotations into a .PDF file that I uploaded into my Slideshare account for folks who may be interested in reading further what it was like experiencing the conference live. The direct link to it can be found over here. And here’s the embedded code in case you may want to flip through the pages as we speak:
I had the privilege as well of being the last speaker of the day, wrapping up what was quite an amazing day that would be rather tough to forget in a long long time. Of course, I talked about one of my favourite topics from over the last 5 years: Living “A World Without eMail“. This time around expanding further on the notion of what a collaborative future may well look like and hold up for us with the emergence of social software tools in the corporate world. I got to talk about plenty of what I have been learning in the last 5 years after I started that movement, back in February 2008, which reminds me that we are getting close to that 5th year anniversary, where I have got a couple of lovely surprises packed up that I am sure folks who have been following this initiative all along would find rather interesting and surprising. But more on that later on…
For now, I thought, as a teaser, as perhaps an interim update from my last blog article on the subject (Yes, I know! I am long overdue an update on how things have been moving along, aren’t I? Well, coming up shortly!), I would go ahead and share the link to the recording over here, so that those folks who may be interested in the topic (It lasts for a little bit over 17 minutes), can have a look into it and watch at your own pace. I’m sure it will evoke a good number of questions and additional insights that I am more than happy to entertain and facilitate on the comments section below, so feel free to chime in as you may see fit, and stay tuned for that upcoming update on the progress report of what it has been like living ”A World Without eMail” in the last 12 months. Oh, and don’t worry, it’s not going to be as massively long as the last one. That’s where one of the surprises would kick in eventually … hehe
Here we go:
Hope you folks would enjoy watching through it, just as much as the huge blast and true honour I had myself on stage delivering the speech. The vibe in the audience was something that will be very hard for me to forget. Ever. And for that I am eternally grateful to both Will, Lou and the rest of the NixonMcIness team!, for their kind invitation and for making of Meaning something that I can just define with a single word: special! … [Truly special]
An enormous thank you, indeed, to everyone involved in making it happen!
Continuing further with that new influx of shorter blog posts over here on this blog and since, lately, I seem to spend plenty of time, effort and energy on becoming a better public speaker doing plenty of reading, rehearsing and learning from those who do it best, I keep bumping into rather interesting resources on doing presentations right: engaging, inspiring, interactive, passionate, involving and rather energising, so I do love learning along the way not just with practice, which we all know makes perfection, but also reading the theory about how other people face having to deliver a presentation, whether they are well seasoned or just getting started. There is always something that we all get to learn. The key thing though is whether we are all ready to absorb, change and adapt our presentation skills to make even better pitches to engage our audience(s), which, I guess, is what matters at the end of the day… But what happens when you inadvertently kill your own presentation without even knowing? What can you do then?
That’s the exact same premise that Jeanne Trojan addressed on a presentation that she put together a couple of years ago, and that when I bumped into it, just recently, by chance, I couldn’t help thinking how scarily accurate it was, and still is, with regards to the engaging art of delivering presentations and what pitfalls to avoid in order not to run into trouble far too soon. Thus I thought I would go ahead and share it over here, so that you would have an opportunity to see those “7 Ways to Kill Your Presentation” and ponder whether you would need to do something about not only addressing them, but fixing them for your upcoming presentation(s) for this year:
After going through that lovely presentation put together by Jeanne, I bet you may be wondering what could be done in order to improve your own presentation skills, now that you have been made aware of those 7 pitfalls, right? Yes, I know, I had that very same thought, so I kept digging and saw how Jeanne herself has put together another presentation, from just a couple of days ago, where she has collected some extended advice on Presentation Tips from the Pros, which is pretty packed up with some excellent advice on how to not just deliver an engaging, passionate, meaningful and refreshing presentation, but also how you can prepare it, and prepare yourself, beforehand in a proper manner, so I thought I would go ahead as well and take the liberty of embedding it right here for other folks to enjoy as well:
Finally, here’s one other helpful source from a good friend of mine, and fellow IBM colleague, Louis Richardson, quite an amazing public speaker I have had the real pleasure of watching him live a few times now by the way, about what to expect when putting yourself in front of an audience to deliver a presentation and what you can do to get the better of you out there to engage those who are investing their time AND their attention on you, the speaker, and your message, while on stage. Check out “Top 10 Tips for Stepping Up Your Presentations“:
The really good thing about bumping into these rather helpful and insightful resources on Presentation Zen and with such a good timing, is that I will be able to put them all into good practice as soon as a couple of weeks from now, when I will be co-sharing the stage with both Louis Richardson himself and my other good friend Luis Benitez (Yes, indeed, The Three Luis’!!) at the IBM Connect 2013 event in Orlando, Florida, January 29th at 5:30 to 6:30 pm ET, under the session heading “Pardon the Interruption on Social Business” that both Louis and Luis have been blogging about it already in their blogs, respectively. The best part of that presentation? Well, amongst several other things [*cough* beer *cough*] I could probably say it’s YOU setting the agenda of the session by participating through this Twitter hashtag right as we speak > #pitsocialbiz as that’s where the three of us are currently gathering questions from the audience that we will be addressing each and everyone of us live at the event around the area of Social Business, and, maybe, why not?, around Open Business, too!
It promises to be some really good fun and I am hoping that these presentation tips I have shared across from both Jeanne and Louis would help make it all an event better experience for the live audience and for those of you folks reading along.
Will we be seeing you there though?
[We surely hope so! Come and join us!]