You have been hearing about it for so long and finally the time has come… off to Austin for the “event” of events, SXSW. What will it be like, where do I go, what can’t I miss? It can be overwhelming. For me, and for many others, the most successful approach is to allow the event to take on a life of its own once you arrive. Make plans, check the schedule, but understand that a great deal can, and will, change once you arrive. I am fortunate at this point that although I am the Co-Founder of a very recently launched Content Shopper Marketing company, Prevailing Path, I am also Acting CMO of Brand Innovators and MC/Hosting their events Friday/Saturday/Sunday at Lambert’s, so base all my efforts, and brand out, from there… but do my best to do as follows while there and with the rest of the time I am in Austin.
The point I want to make, with specific reference to SXSW, is… be fluid. The way I describe Sx, is imagine living within your Facebook page… walking around bumping into conversations, product launches, new ideas, and seeing old friends, acquaintances, faces you recognize and making new friends/business-contacts. Their words, comments and images are floating past. That is the way I describe Sx… a real world social platform. So be prepared for many serendipitous moments; seek them out, and embrace them… do not miss the opportunity to make a great connection, enhance an existing relationship, or simply listen in on a great conversation because you have something you know little about on your “schedule.”
The most important part of anything you will do while at Sx, in my opinion, is follow-up. Following up is what a networking event is all about, and if you aren’t in a position to do that, then don’t even think about attending. I mention this many times when speaking, it’s unbelievable to me how many never bother to follow-up, connect away from the event, or even fail to add who they met via social platforms and into their contacts file. What a complete and utter waste of time.
So go, have fun, meet, greet, listen, and learn. But, make sure to be the one who follows-up… stand out, jump a big step in front of the rest, and start earning Return on Relationship™.
Remember… Relationships are like muscle tissue, the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become.