I know a lot of people write posts about conferences – especially after one has just been completed. These posts are great summaries of lessons learned and tips taken away.
This isn't that post.
That's because I don't go to WordCamps to learn lessons or take away tips. I go to WordCamps to meet people and to enrich the relationships I already have.
I Go to Meet People
Here's what I know – everything I do and whatever success I have – comes from the relationships I have developed over time. And nothing helps relationships develop better than face time.
So before I ever go to a WordCamp, I make a list of the people I'd like to spend time with. Yes, I'm that intentional.
It's three lists – people I already know, people I've interacted with online but haven't met in person, and people I really want to meet.
Now, to be clear, I won't interact with all these people in the same way, and I won't get tons of time with all of them. But I know that if I don't make my list and if I'm not intentional, nothing will happen.
I also think thru all the time I'll have available to me – including meals, parties, sessions, and the potential of skipping a session to hang out with folks. Thankfully, there was tons of available networking time at WordCamp Austin, so I didn't really have to skip a session.
Making My List
So let's look at this past weekend's lists.
People I Know
Wanted to Meet
Did this mean I didn't want to also meet all sorts of other people? No way. I wanted to meet and say hi to as many people as possible. I had no intention of ignoring anyone. But like I said, without an intentional list, I might have missed out on the things that really mattered to me.
As I thought, in advance, of my time at the conference, I knew my key moments when I could connect. They were:
- Friday evening
- Saturday dinner
- Saturday CigarCamp
- Sunday Lunch
Did I plan out the whole weekend before arriving? No. I think most people prefer feeling like things are casual and impromptu. That means I didn't send out invitations in advance. But that doesn't mean I can't be intentional.
I invited Jared, CodyL, Austin to hang out on Friday evening at the hotel where I'd be staying. That was planned in advanced and intention.
During the day, I spent time a tiny bit of time with Shayne before connecting with both Cory Miller and listening to his two sessions, along with one from Carrie Dils. I also caught a bit of time with Jared.
Since CodyL and I had talked about eating burgers in Austin, we decided to go to HopDoddy for dinner. It was the perfect place to invite Daniel and his wife to join us.
CigarCamp, a truly Austin part of WordCamp, was a great time to hang further with Austin, Jared, and Carrie.
And I ended my time on Sunday with lunch with the Heskeths.
Being intentional (without ignoring others) enabled me to connect with everyone I wanted to.
Why Choose Intentionality?
No one likes to live with regrets. I'm just like that. Why would I want to have been in the same place, with the opportunity to connect with someone, only to have ignored that potential?
Does that mean there weren't other amazing people there? Nope. There were (including amazing people I didn't know would be there). I took opportunities to say hi. That was just added bonus!
Did I monopolize anyone's time? I hope not. My goal wasn't to take over their lives/time. Instead it was just to make sure we got some good face time.
Why do I want that? Why am I so focused on intentional time with people?
Because ultimately I know that we'll be able to leverage our online time much more effectively if we've built a bit of trust and nothing builds trust better than interacting face to face.
Trust is much easier to develop in person. That's why I'm intentional.
Do you know these folks?
As I wrap up, I gotta ask… do you know these folks? The ones I listed above?
I ask because they're all amazing people. They're not just great people for me to connect with. Nope. They're people you should know too. That's why I've named them, listed them out, and given you their Twitter handles.
Do me a favor – go follow them. You can thank me later.