It’s been just about two weeks since I returned from Social Slam.
You’ve already heard about what a wonderful event it was, from so very many people. And I told you of how it was one of those OMG-it-finally-happened moments for me. Frankly, I haven’t written a wrap-up post because everyone else beat me to the punch.
I have a surprise/gift for you as far as that goes, but that’s at the end of the post. Please don’t cheat by skipping to the end!
But then, the other day I was reading Mark Schaeffer’s recent and most excellent post about the online-offline intersection at its best. He related an anecdote about seeing Ian Cleary (who is wonderful!) at SMMWorld:
“At the recent Social Media Marketing World event, I ran into Ian and asked him how many sessions he had attended and he said ‘none.’ At first I was surprised.
” ‘I’ve been in the hallways,” he said. “That’s where the conversations and relationships are taking place.’ “
This is really true.
Do you remember how I told you, when I was at the 2012 PRSA International Conference, what really made it special was the “off-conference” time I got to spend with people? Of course there were some sessions that were terrific, but the time that I spent outside the sessions was, as the commercial goes, priceless.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attend any conference sessions. Far from it (and especially if you are new to the biz, then you must attend as many sessions as you can, in my opinion).
However, it’s really important to start getting to know the people who are making the industry what it is, and that means outside of the parties, etc. – or, maybe, during them – you have to find time to chat one-on-one, or in small groups.
That is networking, not collecting and handing out a bunch of business cards.
The sessions at SoSlam were terrific, but what will always stay with me are the memories of (in no particular order):
1. Brian Vickery putting me back in the hotel elevator each time we were going up in it, because I was so busy talking, I’d get out on his floor instead of mine (two floors above his).
2. Meeting Sean McGinnis for the first time and realizing just how tall tall TALL he is. Gini Dietrich didn’t warn me! He’s really, really smart, and really, really nice.
3. Jayme Soulati and I screaming when we first met each other, at the SoSlam tweetup. She has the most beautiful sparkly eyes!
4. Seeing Adam Toporek after way too long, and getting to spend wonderful one-on-one time with him. I can’t tell you how kind he has been to me, and how much he has helped as I resurrected my business.
5. John Jantsch walking up to Adam and I as we were hanging out at the VIP party (see photo up top), and spending at least 20 minutes of his time chatting with us. He didn’t have to do that. But he did. And is just one of the nicest real superstars in our field that I have ever met. Do you know he bought some scholarships to the conference for students who might not have been able to attend otherwise?
6. Ian Cleary reaching out to me ahead of time to see if we could connect; we couldn’t because of my flight schedule, but we did later on, and had a blast.
7. Jeff Bullas laughing heartily when I cracked a joke (that I stole from Adam, aren’t you curious as to what it was?), at the after-party.
8. Rosemary O’Neill being just the sweetest person ever, just being around her calmed me down. She is killer smart too!
9. Laura Click: ditto. She actually told people to come to our session instead of hers, that’s how nice she is. I mean, who does that? Also she has the bluest eyes.
10. Dancing – yes, dancing – with Jeff, Ian and Amy Howell at the after-after-after party. We had so much fun, and I have a Vine video to prove it.
11. Seeing Kellye Crane after way too long as well, and the fact that she made it a point to find and chat with me at the after-party meant a lot to me.
12. Of course getting a bear hug from Mark himself, but I wish I’d been able to chat with him some more. Hopefully next time.
13. Gary McCormick going out of his way to pick me up at the airport and give me a tour of HGTV headquarters. I’m a DIY and HGTV junkie, so that was crack for me (did you ever think you’d hear me say that, by the way?).
There were so many more moments – oh! Brian and I breaking into impromptu harmony! Gabrielle Laine-Peters and Sean trying to out-moustache each other! Meeting Anne Gallaher! And Karen Freberg! And Randy Bowden! And Jon Moss! And Xan Pearson! And see Jason Konopinski again! And Dino Dogan! and … see what I mean? I’m going to leave something out, and I’ll get into trouble, so I may as well stop here.
The point is, very few of these were moments that happened inside the sessions; there were great moments that did happen inside the sessions, and that sparked wonderful conversations, but the true connections happened outside.
Mark, if you’re reading this, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to speak (“What’s that you say? Come back next year? Why, I’d love to!”), and to each and every person who was kind enough to spend time with me – thank you so much. Social Slam truly is remarkable, not just because of the high quality of conference content at an amazingly reasonable price, but for the stratospheric quality of connections you make there. So if you haven’t been yet, you should put it on your calendar for next year.
I said I had a surprise for you earlier on. Here it is. I made a Listly list of all the posts I could find that both previewed and reviewed Social Slam. So this should be a really easy way for you to catch up on all of them, and save them for future reference (because there are some great lessons learned in many of them). And if you find any I’ve left out, please do add them to the list.
[listly id=”4EP” layout=”full”]
Have you had any “aha!” moments when attending conferences, or after returning from them? What other tips can you share on relationship-building? Please do share, you know the comments are yours!
[…] do you start doing this? By using today’s myriad two- and multi-way communication channels to build relationships instead of email […]
shonali TY for incl my post…loved hearing you sing & can’t wait until the next time! markwschaefer dbvickery seanmcginnis #SoSlam
LizReusswig You’re welcome, and ditto!
DeeterGallaher AnneDGallaher adamtoporek lauraclick Thanks for the shares! seanmcginnis dbvickery back at you :)
shonali It was an awesome #SoSlam recap!! DeeterGallaher adamtoporek lauraclick seanmcginnis dbvickery
SMCKnox howiegoldfarb JamieCrager AmyMccTobin jasonkonopinski Thanks for the shares!
What. A. Blast. :-)
Shonali, what a great way to sum up #soslam. I had a great time seeing/meeting most of the people on your list, but what I enjoyed most was having time to really deepen some relationships with people I had known before (you, for one, of course!)
Also, I do believe ducttape deserves a special shout-out — he is truly down to earth in addition to being really smart!
Hey @shonali did Adam | Customer Experience have his cell hone with him? He still has me on hold since February! I refuse to hang up because I heard if I get through my experience will be amazing! 8) Hope to meet you one day Adam!
Howie Goldfarb That’s because you don’t behave yourself like I do. ;) Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience ducttape He absolutely is!
Thanks for the kind words, @shonali! It was so great to finally meet you – I think we could have talked for hours and hours! As I’ve send before and I’ll say it again, the content at Social Slam was good, but the people made it great. I think iancleary is on to something with the “spending time in the hallways” concept. It’s hard to forge relationships in the minutes between sessions. You’ve got to find time elsewhere and that’s why the before and after parties were so important. Just hate that I missed out on the dancing!!!
lauraclick what @shonali wasn’t told is that your session was booked solid so you felt she should get the overflow? 8) Don’t worry my jokes get better as I go down the comments!
HowieG lauraclick HAHA! Hardly. I was talking about social media for beginners. Naturally, most of the folks here are NOT beginners. They definitely needed to see @shonali instead! Heck, I wish I could have been in her session!
lauraclick I really wish you’d been there for the dancing, you and I would have cut up the floor! Howie Goldfarb
shonali markwschaefer dbvickery Greta post Shonali! Spending time with you was one of my highlights of #SoSlam!
My only problem with Social Slam is there’s never enough time to get to spend with all you awesome people! Each year I’m left wanting more.
I say next year we all fly in a day early and do our own version of 30 minute speed dating or something… ;)
Sean McGinnis funny when I first got to know @shonali i expected her to be 5′! Then I met her and she was taller than me! But the ginidietrich was disappointed to learn I was under 6′ because she hoped I could take you down Sean when i got to Chicago. My friend is a stilter you wait I will be taller when we meet!
“bowden2bowden: The Moments That Made Social Slam 2013 Momentous via shonali http://t.co/geJHOsCEHm #SoSlam”
kyleplacy bowden2bowden rhogroupee Many thanks for the shares!
shonali markwschaefer seanmcginnis I enjoyed the summary. The elevator story, singing, and dancing are definitely memorable
Forgive me, but “putting you back in the elevator” is the kind of expression that would make for a great euphemism.
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes TOTALLY!!!
Our fun together over those two days was definitely a highlight – the elevator thing was just comic relief.
dbvickery It WAS comic relief. You were so patient each time, LOL!
Shonali dbvickery actually you did stay on his floor Shonali! He just knew you were so drunk, I mean not paying attention he could send you two floors up! 8)
Howie Goldfarb Oh puleeze. :p dbvickery
I think I already told you that meeting you was one of my true highlights of the conference! Your wrapup perfectly captured the spirit of the event and some of the great personalities colliding in “protein form.” And I already went and bought my own set of those foldup flat shoes :)
rosemaryoneill “Protein form” – HAHAHAHAH! Aren’t the shoes great? I think I should buy a set of them and give them away as tchotchkes. ;) I so loved meeting you, Rosemary. I feel like we should do periodic Hangouts or something – you, lauraclick, dbvickery … any of the gang who want to join – this is a very special group and I’m privileged to be a part of it.
Shonali rosemaryoneill lauraclick dbvickery Oooh! yes! That would be so fun!
lauraclick Shonali rosemaryoneill lauraclick dbvickery I’m totally in for a regular SoSlam hangout.
Shonali rosemaryoneill lauraclick I’m good with that – you know I love Google+ Hangouts!
markwschaefer Thank you for sharing and again for having me at #soslam!
So many wonderful memories jammed into those two days. Maybe next year markwschaefer will let me join a session. :)
jasonkonopinski Maybe markwschaefer will. ;)
Shonali jasonkonopinski markwschaefer still amazed Jason was allowed out of state with that big Madoff lawsuit he was named in pending.
Yes, of course I am reading! Thanks for the momentous and heart-filled write-up. And boy am I sorry that I missed that dancing!!! Thank you for your wonderful participation and support. And yes, we will definitely see you next year!
markwschaefer OMG, the dancing was AWESOME. If you haven’t seen jeffbullas cut a rug, you haven’t lived. ;) Thank you again so so much, Mark!
Shonali markwschaefer Mark I promise when we meet I will have a Corp Logo Mask and you can try to convince me to show the real me! I bet you succeed ;-)
Your post brought a smile to my face and brought back some happy memories. It was a special event! Ian
iancleary It really was. And I hope timing works out for us to meet in July – I would love to see you (and your wife) sooner rather than later. We have to plan some kind of family trip back to Ireland, to visit the old homeland, so that would be one way of starting it. :)