When in ROAM …

I recently got back from my very first public speaking engagement for a conference dedicated to social media influencers in Canada called ROAM. The conference was held out west, in Kelowna, BC in an absolutely fantastic venue – the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre. For those of you that know me, I’ve been a complete social media Luddite (by choice) for the past 7 or 8 years.
Aaron: “Hi, *cough*, my name is Aaron and I just don’t understand social media at all… I’m not even on Facebook”
Support Group: “Hiiii Aaaaaaron”

I was taken aback at the amount of interest, activity, and engagement that there was in this space. On a personal level I still don’t really get the whole point of it, but the group of people who were in attendance weren’t just there to get their FB friend counts up. They were there learning about how to run a business either on, or by, leveraging social media platforms.

The sessions were distributed between all the big social platforms (YouTube, Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, etc.) and went from some basic “this is how you use the platform” to talking about how the platforms actually store, search for, and display your data. As someone who is technically focused in his career, and as a result has trained his family to be the same, it was really interesting to get a different perspective on some of the problems that people were having with a lot of this technology.

The bulk of the sessions were held in a large conference room, chairs and tables set up in a circle with a big space in the middle, but for roughly 50% of the sessions the entire group got up … moved to a new venue and enjoyed some good food, drink, and presentations from some of the other speakers. The whole “ROAM”ing concept worked really well (with the group size we had) and totally added to the level of comfort and familiarity the group formed between both attendees and speakers.

ROAM Room

I had the group pull everything forward and come up closer to the screen (which would be off camera to the left (to the left) in the photo above. That meant I didn’t need to be mic’d up and the attendees and I could just have a discussion back and forth about what this thing called “Inbox Zero” was all about. It felt like there was a real difference in the attitude of a group that feels obligated to listen and one that wants to listen (obviously), but there’s an even bigger different between those two groups and the ones that pay to be there. It might just be that the difference in perception was only on my side, but it really felt like the group was trying to squeeze out every ounce of knowledge they could before my talk was done.

During the presentation I was showing (off?) how all my inbox accounts actually were at zero (a practice what I preach moment), and surprisingly there were 15+ messages from twitter notifying me that people were already talking about what I was putting out there. Those 15 tweets (and the deluge that followed) are now basically making up the majority of my timeline in twitter. Talk about a warm welcome and some great reinforcement for me.

People were asking questions, laughing (even at my bad/dad jokes), and generally enjoying the talk. Over the past few days, I’ve been approached by many of the attendees who were interested in strategies, next steps, setup assistance, and even some other speaking engagements! Who knew? People, it seems, care about improving their productivity, organization, and capacity planning, and decreasing their stress and effort required at the same time 😉 #soapBox

ok … so to wrap this up…

I’m back in the peg
I’m armed with some new knowledge
I’m going to keep up with this speaking / teaching thing
and …
I’ve just got to get myself prepped to keep on top of all these new initiatives and stay on top of my email and find time for #ProjectSnowfall 😉 #intentionallyvague … #miscellaneoushashtags

Time to put my money where my mouth is.

4 thoughts on “When in ROAM …

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