Dispatch from Northern Voice: A newbie’s perspective

photo credit: Janis Behan

The following is Nick’s Northern Voice dispatch from Friday. It was his first time attending the conference.

Bridging the gap from personal to business in social media

One day down at Northern Voice 2010 and what a day it was! Such a great turnout that I actually spent much of my day sitting cross legged on the floor in over-capacity lecture rooms (don’t tell the fire inspectors)! Interesting speakers and presentations, but the one thing that I struggled with was how to apply what I was hearing to our business and our clients.

At first glance, much of what was presented today was geared towards using social media for personal use. After chatting with some fellow communicators and a long bus ride home to pontificate (#wordgeek), I’ve managed to draw a number of business parallels for a few of the sessions I took in today.

photo credit: Jerk with a Camera

Bryan Alexander’s keynote address:

The gist of what Bryan had to say was that mystery is the key to storytelling – or from a PR perspective, to communicating. When you think about most successful viral marketing campaigns, the best ones aren’t giving it to you literally. They work because they leave participants wanting more. In short, mystery elicits participation. The concept also extends to effective PowerPoint presentations – the best ones leave the spectator wanting to know what the speaker is going to say to complement the slide and further, what will the next slide bring.

Finding your voice with Monica Hamburg (in person) and Dave Olson (via a hilarious video):

I’ve been in the online space for years now, but never as a blogger. What is holding me back as I start blogging is that I don’t know what I want to say yet?

Monica’s advice – write, write, write and it will come. Another great point she made, was to think about how your friends would describe you in as many adjectives as possible and then use that to create your voice. Most importantly though, you have to have a point!

For businesses starting blogs, the same principles apply. Who do you want to be? What do you want to communicate? How do you want people to perceive you?

Dave’s advice – prepare to take risks and practice your craft constantly.

photo credit: Simone Hudson

The weird world of chatroulette with Dean Hudson:

Possibly my favourite session of the day. I’ve heard a lot about this phenomenon but never really took the time to learn about it because it just seemed like a lot of hype and pornography to me. And while my opinion hasn’t changed much, the session got me thinking that there could be an application for our clients in the future. I’m going to keep watching this platform to see how it develops further.

Overcoming social anxiety with Kimli Welsh:

This session made me realize that I’m the opposite of most of the personality types at the conference. While they struggle to socialize in the real world, I struggle to socialize online! I’d like to think that I’m witty and interesting and opinionated in person, at cocktail parties and networking events, but I struggle showing my personality online.

photo credit: Derek K. Miller

When it comes to business, many are still hesitant to take the step into the Wild, Wild Web. But that’s not an option anymore – something that I’m realizing as a communicator. It takes time to do it right and you learn as you go, but practice makes perfect.

Nick Seliwoniuk


~ by Wilcox Group Team on May 10, 2010.

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