Five Lessons from Five Events in 24 Hours


This week I did something that I had no intention of doing: I spoke at five events within 24 hours. This was largely due to the unexpected timing of several events that were part of Social Media Week, but a couple others came up around the same time. As I hate to run after events, only once – albeit at an event where I was filling in for a traveling colleague – did I really cut things short, and for three I stuck around until the end or far longer.

Several months ago, I shared over 100 lessons from 100 events, but this list is a little more manageable: (at least) five things I've taken away from these very different events:

Event 1

Binghamton University's Cool Connections, Hot Alumni 
-Featured speaker in this pilot of a new teleconference series hosted on campus for students


When you get a bunch of people who are in the room on their own volition and have a lot to gain, they tend to take advantage of the opportunity and ask the best questions. Really, the students at Binghamton were phenomenal, even when they couldn't look me eye to eye and we were 180 miles apart. Also, using the Polycom in the office, it was one of the most seamless teleconferences I've done. Lastly, a real highlight was when the first two students to follow up did so via Twitter. These kids grow up so fast.

Event 2

Social Strategy Cage Match: Offense vs Defense by Kickapps 
-Caged speaker


Dress the part. Thanks to Kevin Haughwout for the photo above (via his coverage of the session on his blog), catching my Ultimate Dragon entrance. Really though, the best part of the night was the format, where Alan Wolk, Anthony Iaffaldano, and the KickApps crew managed to bring together nine people – a moderator and eight panelists – in a four-on-four matchup with lots of audience interaction. It lived up to the Social Media Week challenge of being creative and conversational. It makes me want to mix it up more next time.

Event 3

Social Media Club's Social Media Camp 
-Keynote: 10 Reasons Why Social Media Week Should Be Every Week


Find new-old ways to concisely tell the story. Just check out the image below from Dean Meyers, who summarized two panels – nearly an hour of content – on a single page. Awesome work, Dean. Aside: you can find my really boring one-slide version of the top 10 here, and then the full presentation. There's also video.

Social Media Camp 2011


Event 4

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) TV and Everything Video Forum 
-Speaker: Bravo Top Chef Just Desserts Case Study 


Passion rules the day. I followed Ellen Stone, Bravo's SVP of Marketing. In just a few minutes, she got everyone in the room so excited about what her organization is doing that it rubbed off on me. During my section on the case study, I had notes on hand, which I don't usually do, but there were a lot of facts and figures to share. Still, after following Ellen, I was able to run with it. I felt the brand, and I had far more fun sharing the case study live after seeing her in action than I did during any dry run. 

Event 5

How Mobile-Social is Changing How Brands Connect with Consumers by 360i 
-Moderator and host


There was a lot I learned or at least appreciated here. First, it's a real luxury to get to pick your own panel. Noah Elkin of eMarketer, Craig Davis of TextualAds, and Tom Dorf of Mocospace were all my top draft picks, and Adam Mirabella of Nokia came highly recommended through Toby Daniels, who organized Social Media Week.

Next, when wireless access fails, cut your losses and move on, even if here it meant doing without mobile polling.

Third, you don't always need moderated Q&A. This was the first time I ever ran a panel and didn't have a list of my own questions. We did short presentations followed by audience Q&A, and I just asked a couple clarifying questions to build on what the audience wanted. By the end of the session, it seemed like everyone who wanted to ask something publicly was able to, and many others stuck around quite awhile after it was done.

The slides from the session are embedded below, and you can watch the full video of the mobile social panel online. Also, check out Kevin Haughwout's coverage on his blog. 

Bonus lesson: Give thanks and credit where they're due:

While there are too many people who contributed to all of these events to name properly, I have to thank Melinda Holicky and Al Vos at Binghamton University (not SUNY Binghamton as I nostalgically referred to it during the cage match), Alan and Anthony from KickApps, Howard Greenstein and Chris Kieff from Social Media Camp (along with Dean Meyers, plugged above), Ellen Stone from Bravo, Marni Gordon and Cara Schultz at the ANA, Katie Perry and Amanda Bird from 360i, and Social Media Week's Toby Daniels, Ben Scheim, and Lauren Hurst. Of course, thanks to everyone who came to these events, and even more to those who shared feedback during and after, whether virtually or in person, as they'd all be pretty dull for me if I couldn't constantly learn from the participants.

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