I’m pretty excited to be getting ready to go to the 2015 Social Media Marketing World conference. I’ve been spending a ton of time learning the major social platforms and getting comfortable using them, and also learning how my agency can use social to increase our business – both by using it ourselves, and by selling the services to our clients. It’s been kind of like pushing a string up a hill at times, because the buy-in has not been there at the top level (meaning the agency owner, who is the only level above mine, ours being a very small agency). But I was able to get him to agree to send me to the conference.
The sessions look really good, with interesting topics and speakers. So I’m looking forward to that part.
Here’s the only thing – this is a conference about being social. So there is a lot of time set aside for networking. During the spaces between sessions, mornings and evenings there are networking events. Events where there’s sure to be a big room filled with people I don’t know, all wearing name badges and carrying cups of Starbucks or glasses of wine, depending on time of day. They’ll all be chattering and connecting and talking about their work and whatever people in that kind of situation talk about.
If that sounds like an energizing environment to you, I can tell you right now that you are not an introvert.
But I knew when I signed up that networking was the name of the game at this event. I knew that I’d need to push myself, and that it would be good for me.
Even so, now that it’s two weeks away I’m not too happy about that. I know I’ll be a bit overwhelmed by the crowds and the different environment and getting pushed out of my comfort zone. And I know that in the spaces between the sessions, and especially at night, I’m not going to want to mill around in groups of people that I don’t know. I’m going to want to go to my hotel room and get room service and read a book – or (ironically) go on social media. You see, it’s so much easier when I’m at my computer and not in front of an actual human.
So how will I find peace and make the most of this pretty great opportunity? Here’s my plan.
During the daytime networking events, I’m going to hold my cup of Starbucks (decaf) and push myself to have as many conversations as possible. The people at the conference are likely to be terrific, as most all of the marketing folk I’ve met online have been, so even for a quiet one like me this should be totally manageable.
In the evening, I’m going to sit at the bar in the conference hotel and have my dinner. It’s a compromise that falls partway between getting room service and finding a group of people to go out to a restaurant with.
I really am looking forward to this conference. It may be just the right kind of social environment for an anti-social media geek like me.