Someone once asked me why I speak -- publicly that is. They wondered if it was for the money, the travel or "the notoriety?" And truth be told, all of those are great side benefits of doing a good deal of public speaking. But the real reason....
And you're there.
And really, it's that simple. By doing the speaking thing I get to travel around the world meeting you and others like you. Best of all, when you speak and it get's published locally in the market you'll be traveling to, lots of the local social media types will find and begin to follow you. So you get to "meet" them before you land.
Just yesterday this happened to me. I'm due to speak at Social Media Club of Dallas on April 21. A local social media person in Dallas that I had never crossed paths with saw it, looked me up and followed me. When I got the notification email, I did the same... and guess what? He's pretty friggin smart. A couple of quick DM's later and I've got a "date" to say hello before or after the speaking gig. So I've made a new connection, found a really helpful new blog, and my world is a little bit richer... all in exchange for a day of my time.
Think about it... you can do so much networking on on Twitter and other social networks, but if you really want to leverage social media networking... you gotta get face-to-face.
Maybe being a social media speaker isn't your thing... that's cool. Find something that is your thing. Create an excuse to go out an interview social media thoughtleaders or whatever your industry is about. Then create a blog where you post those thought leader interviews. It's an excellent opportunity for you to make great connections, learn something AND give folks a reason to connect with you. Win - Win - Win.
Think about it... then tell me how YOU are going to do a better job of social networking this year... ok?
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