A Tall, Blue-Haired Woman And Me — Wearing Pants

Yesterday morning, I got in Abe Lincoln (my 1994 Lincoln Town Car) and headed 100 miles north to Greenville to attend “Social Story Greenville — billed as an event to “help you find and social_story1communicate your unique story in a way that will connect to your customers like never before.” (Full Disclosure:  I was the guest of Phil Yanov, aka @ThinkHammer and a man who often buys me beer at TechAfter5.)

To attend an event in G-ville means I have to:

  1. Wear pants.
  2. Get up at 6AM.
  3. Act like an adult.

miss_dSo whatever it is, it’s got to sound pretty interesting.  Lots of the time, I pass because it just doesn’t seem worth it. But since Phil was going to be the Ringmaster at this Circus, and I had a chance to get my picture taken with MissDestructo, I decided to take the risk.

Good investment.  I spent the day listening to a wide variety of folks talking about the value of stories — your stories — and how you could use them in connecting to customers in Social Media situations.

Speakers included:

• Rick Murray, President of Edelman, Chicago

• Sean Buvala, @storyteller, author, and entrepreneur

• Trey Pennington, story prospector

• Tim March, aka TimTV, storyteller and performing artist

• Olivier Blanchard, @thebrandbuilder, entrepreneur

• Amber Osborne, @MissDestructo

There was also lots of nice time to talk with people who were attending, a nice box lunch, and an after-party that I had to miss so I could scoot home early for another engagement.

As a “professional learning dude”, I was a bit disappointed that it was mostly done in a model of one smart guy on a stage talking to all of us sitting on the bleachers.  It really would have been great to have used some of the SM tools that we have, and maybe created some other models for engaging before and after the event.  So here are three ideas for future events (that are planned for other cities, I hear).

  • Engage with us before the show Let’s have some short webinars or teaching sessions online before the actual show, for the participants who’d like to join in.  Or a phone call.  Or some e-learning.  Or a TweetChat.  Not everyone will attend, of course, but it would help beginners get up to speed and let the presenters better understand the needs of the audience.
  • Don’t just lecture to us I’m an experienced presenter, and I realize that there’s nothing more entrancing than the sound of your own voice!  But ask us questions, have us do things, play videos, use clickers for feedback, project a Twitter feed in response to your topic, engage, engage, engage! Kudos to Sean Bulvala for engaging with his audience!  (And NEVER present sitting down.  Never, never, never! That’s why people fall asleep listening to Charlie Rose.)
  • Give us some “next steps”  Set up a little community we can discuss our stories in, or a place we can share what we’re working on, or somewhere we can learn more.  You’ve gotten us all excited about this topic — don’t let the momentum die!  No matter what you’re trying to teach, people have to practice it to make sure it sticks — so help us out.

If you couldn’t make it to the show, you can watch the video online and get your stories out to the world right away courtesy of Brian Kelly Multimedia, or read the wthashtag transcript for all of the tweets sent.

Oh — as you can see — I didn’t have to act grown up the whole time!