Fleeting encounters and cementing connections

Reflecting on two conferences in London I’ve been involved with during the past week, I’m reminded that conferences are all about connecting with people.

That will seem pretty obvious. What I mean is to do with the small, personal connections you create or re-create with individuals rather than the broad and sometimes fleeting encounters you have with a large group of people.

The latter is especially so when you’re a presenter as there’s often little time to actually make a connection with individuals. That said, it’s good to not make broad judgements as you never know what may result from fleeting encounters.

For instance, I’ve built relationships with people who have become clients where a fleeting encounter at a conference led to a call six months later – they had a need and recalled something from those fleeting encounters.

Earlier in the week, I spoke at Delivering The New PR 2.0, the seventh in a long-running series of conferences organized by Philip Young at the University of Sunderland.

To me, that event is all about cementing connections between a group of people who first came together in late 2005 for the first such conference.

The original team – presenters Philip Young, Tom Murphy, Stuart Bruce, Chris Rushton, Elizabeth Albrycht and me, plus event organizers Nicky and Andy Wake -has evolved. Elizabeth still has other priorities at the moment so Simon Rogers joined the team earlier this year.

It’s a terrific team where relationships are genuine and, I believe, long lasting – we’ll always have something special whether there’s a conference in the mix or not.

During the last part of the week, I was at Engagement, Social Media and The Internal Communication Revolution, a three-day event organized by Ragan Communications and Simply-Communicate.com.

More cementing: with Shel Holtz, my podcasting partner. Connecting anew with people I’ve met before, such as Marc Wright, Matt O’Neill, Gerry Murray, Niall Cook, David Camacho, Ellee Seymour. Brand new connections: Mark Ragan, Steve Crescenzo, Ronna Porter.

Speaking of Steve Crescenzo, I’ve been a lurker on his RSS feed for a very long time, so it was terrific to finally meet. I think we made a good start on cementing our connection! The video clip below was shot by Shel on his nifty little PureDigital video recorder (not on sale in the UK, unfortunately).

Yes, it’s all about people.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.