Posts Tagged ‘ conferences ’

FutureMidwest

February 10, 2010 10:00 am | 4 Comments

My friend Nikki Stephan (@estrellabella10) sent me some great information about an upcoming conference several weeks ago. I promised to write a blog post because I was so excited about the conference (I plan to attend). She connected me with David Murray (@DaveMurr), gave me many great points about why you should attend. Read on…

FMW_logoThe 5 W’s:
WhoFutureMidwest – which is the fusion of two successful conferences held in Michigan in 2009 – the Module Midwest Digital Conference and TechNow
What: Will highlight how technology and social media have dramatically changed the way we do business
When: April 16 – 17, 2010
WhereRoyal Oak, Mich.,  at the Royal Oak Music Theatre
Why:  There are awesome presenters, including Blagica Bottigliero from Edelman Digital,  Ken Burbar from Ernst & Young, Beth Harte from MarketingProfs, Scott Monty from Ford and many more very cool social media types.

Why You Should Go (according to David Murray)

I can’t go into last year’s Module Midwest Digital Conference without mentioning Adrian Pittman. If it wasn’t for a chance meeting, I wouldn’t have even heard of Module, let alone be part of this year’s FutureMidwest conference.
At the time I had just moved back to Michigan. A dumb move in the eyes of many, but for me I saw opportunity. Michigan was, and some may argue still is, in a bad place. I had just begun my career in this new thing people were talking about, Social Media. This would have been around early 2009.
Like most of the connections I had made, Adrian initially met through Twitter.  After talking with Adrian for a few minutes, I immediately realized that this guy was on to something. He had big ideas, and unlike most people, he carried through to see them become reality. So when he started speaking about his conference called Module, I was immediately intrigued. I mean who wouldn’t. He was touting names like Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund, and Shannon Paul. Those are names attached to events that you want to be a part of.

I can’t go into last year’s Module Midwest Digital Conference without mentioning Adrian Pittman. If it wasn’t for a chance meeting, I wouldn’t have even heard of Module, let alone be part of this year’s FutureMidwest conference.

Like most of the connections I had made, Adrian initially met through Twitter.  After talking with Adrian for a few minutes, I immediately realized that this guy was on to something. He had big ideas, and unlike most people, he carried through to see them become reality. So when he started speaking about his conference called Module, I was immediately intrigued. I mean who wouldn’t. He was touting names like Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund, and Shannon Paul. Those are names attached to events that you want to be a part of.

There was energy after Module. Things began to happen. People, who didn’t know each other began to build bridges, connect, share, and learn from each other. Despite the recession people moved forward with ambition driven by the desire to see a different outcome. And as we lead up to FutureMidwest, we are now seeing the seeds of our discussions from last year’s Module take shape and definition. This year, FutureMidwest is partnering up with another great conference, TechNow, founded by Jordan Wolfe.

So, why people should attend? Well, going by the website, you should attend FutureMidwest for the following reasons:

  • To help understand how to market your business in the digital space.
  • To know which tools to use that will connect you with customers and stakeholders to grow your business.
  • You have questions about monitoring, analyzing and measuring online efforts to prove the social web is an investment worth making.
  • You’ve heard that you need to use online tools to create dialogue and deepen relationships with customers, and provide content that makes customers want your products/services.

That’s pretty straight forward.

But if you really want my opinion, I would say attend FutureMidwest, because you won’t just be attending a conference. You’ll be taking part of the change that is happening across Michigan.  And if we’ve done our job right you will walk away with the knowledge to be part of the change. That to me is the true value of FutureMidwest.

About David

Bio_AvatarDavid currently serves as Director of Social Web Communications for The Bivings Group, an Internet communications firm in Washington DC. He carries extensive experience in online community management, social media, and product development. Fully immersed in social media practices and methodologies, David enjoys pushing the norm when creating communities and engaging user experiences. Living by the mantra, “leave no regrets”, David chose to return to Michigan where he founded the Social Media Club chapter of Detroit, and is one of the co-chairs for FutureMidwest, the region’s largest technology and knowledge conference taking place in Royal Oak, Michigan. Read his blog and connect with him on twitter and LinkedIn.

Enter the contest to win a PR/social media book by commenting on this post. Information here.

QuestionsConferences related to public relations are a great opportunity for networking and professional development. Although I won’t be attending the 2009 PRSSA National Conference, I do have a few tips for the students who will be. I’ve attended several PRSSA conferences at CMU, one national conference and a Ragan Unconference.

1. Swap business cards to connect with people after the conference. You’ll be meeting countless people, so write short notes on the back of the cards to help you remember who they were and what you discussed. (Example: “Met at dinner. Discussed agency work. Has planned a professional development event before.”)

2. Never sit next to the same person twice. Networking was the most fun when I sat beside complete strangers and struck up a conversation with them. If you only sit with people you know, you won’t get as much out of the conference.

3. Ask questions. Whether you are in a session or sitting next to someone you don’t know, ask questions to get a conversation going and to learn more. Strive to get as much out of the conference as you can.

4. Know the schedule. You’ll make your life 10 times easier if you know what sessions you plan to attend and where they will be held. Plan to get to sessions as early as possible. This gives you time to network. Also, remember that some sessions fill up fast (in my experience, event planning and entertainment PR sessions were the fullest).

5. Take good notes. You might be able to refer back to them for a project or write a blog post about what you learned.

6. Be a professional. Even though you are a student, you are at a professional conference. Have fun, but act professional. There are PRSA professionals nearby and some of the students could be your future coworkers.

7. Dress nice, but comfortable. Professional dress is the norm at many conferences. Keep comfort in mind. For example, flip flops are unacceptable, so buy some gel inserts for your heels or have a comfortable pair of flats.

8. Get a decent amount of sleep. With a full day of sessions and a night of socials, it’s hard to find time to rest at conferences. But definitely try to get some sleep because you don’t want to miss a good session because you’re exhausted.

9. Take advantage of every opportunity and session. You aren’t required to show up to sessions, so you might be tempted to enjoy the San Diego beaches instead. Don’t miss out on opportunities to network with your peers and learn from professionals though.

10. Follow up with those you met. When you go home, you’ll be incredibly motivated about your career. Be sure to send notes to people you met and thank the speakers for attending the event. It’s great to make that last connection and you will stand out in their mind.

I won’t be there to experience the 2009 PRSSA National Conference, but I’m sure it will be a great experience for those who are attending.

About

Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.