March 16, 2010

SXSW '10 Notes: Be generously helpful to succeed

(Photo by Nikki Smith Morgan, Public Words

Last Saturday I was in the center-of-the-social-universe: SXSW Interactive. Bloggers, Tweeters, Developers, Ad Pros, Luminaries and Snark Super Stars were all in Austin to celebrate another year of phenomenal growth in social media.  With Austin's great food (my top bites were at Polvos and Jorges) and great music (saw Dick Dale at a small club), SXSW Interactive is truly Spring Break For Geeks.  

I was invited to co-host a Core Conversation with Nick Morgan on how to go from blogger to professional speaker.  At 12:30pm, Nick and I attended the "I Don't Trust You One Stinking Bit" panel hosted by Trust Agent co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  

Chris and Julien hammered home the idea that you build trust by investing in others.  In other words, the key to being successful was helping people.  I had to blush when Chris Brogan called me out, for Love Is The Killer App and what I've been doing for him (VIDEO: Chris Gives A Shout Out To The Lovecat).  I was also floored when Chris told the crowd that "it took him 8 years of writing to gain 100 followers." Wow.  It's only over the last few years, that his readership has soared to where it is now. 

The other big takeaway from that panel was around execution.  There's a big difference between offering to help someone, and actually producing value in their lives.  We are not rewarded for attempts or ideas, we are rewarded for RESULTS.  

During our core conversation at 3:30, Nick and I gave high level advice and answered a slew of thoughtful questions.  Check out Nick's summary of the event.  Here's that I offered:  Blog to establish expertise and a big following - but focus on being helpful instead of being provocative per se.  Write a book, and make sure and follow Jeff Herman's formula for a book proposal.  Write a book about one of your accomplishments, and be very generous with the details of 'how you did it'.  The more you give of yourself, even the bad parts, the more people will take your advice and feel the effects. 

When you speak, don't speak to impress, be helpful.  Focus on takeaways that stem from your expertise. Don't hold back, waiting for consulting offers, show your audience how to tend to themselves.  The session was well received, although some people were likely offput by our recommendation to avoid self-publishing as a path to professional speaking.  

On the flight home, as I contemplated three days of big thinking, I realized that relationship building will never change.  Only the players and their tools will change - which re-confirms my outlook that people are STILL the next big thing.  

(See a hand held clip I shot of Chris and Julien talking about getting into 'The Circle').  

Posted at 2:15 PM in Business Effectiveness , Social Media  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)



Tim, I love your intent. I'm an example of the result of what you're after. You recommended Nick. I'm following him now (and I bought his books). You recommended Chris (and bought his book). I'm following him. But I'm coming back to you because I trust you (and know how talented and hard-working you are), and Nick and Chris know I'm in their court because you invited me.


Thanks for this Tim. Seems we're all feeling this. Who dares to go first and start behaving differently - namely, by no pumping out loads of content?

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