November 22, 2016

On Conferences

Networked talking. Like blogging IRL.

I recently started working with a new client, though we’ve known each other for a while. In fact - we met at a conference in 2011!

That’s 5 years from meeting to doing business together - an incredible reminder that business is generated from personal relationships and that there is value in exposing your thinking.

Since leaving Distilled in 2012 I’ve not really done much conference speaking. And I miss it. It’s not the being on stage bit that I miss to be honest, but rather the networked ideas - the relationships, the opportunity to be part of a density of ideas, the opportunity to teach, the opportunity to learn!

The Challenges of Speaking as an Independent

If I’d applied to speak at a conference while I was working at Google people would have bitten my hand off. But as an independent it’s harder to gain the kind of authority and reputation needed to get those opportunities. While I’ve not been pursuing the opportunities in earnest I’ve applied here and there only to be rejected, which never feels great.

But this is a good signal that the brand I’m building as an independent is, frankly, just not that strong yet. Part of that problem of course is that I haven’t been putting enough ideas out into the world recently, but I’m trying to rectify that!

Speaking at SearchLove San Diego in Feb 2017

So, I’m really excited to be one of the speakers at Distilled’s SearchLove conference in San Diego in Feb 2017.

Whether you’re on the east coast or the west coast you should really come along. It’s going to be a fun event packed full of quality speakers (and me!).

Tickets are on sale now.

Networked talking. Like blogging IRL.

What is the value of speaking at a conference? Much like blogging has value in networked writing - there’s value in networked talking. What do I mean by that?

Looking back at the talks I’ve done that I am most proud of - it’s not the size of the audience it’s the number of conversations generated from the talk. I get a kick out of exploring ideas with the audience. Provoking a change in mindset, provoking a new approach.

It’s much the same as writing here - it’s not about an audience that just reads what I have to say. It’s about an audience that is moved by the ideas. Moved to engage. To email me. Or to comment. Networked writing. Networked talking.

What should I talk on?

I’ve got a little time before February and I haven’t settled on a topic yet. What should my talk be on? What would you be excited to hear me talk about? Throw me suggestions in the comments, on twitter or email. I’m all ears.

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This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: