Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/customer/www/marketingelf.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/eclipse-link-cloaker/eclipse-cloaker.php on line 3365
Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend TEDxLansing and I am very glad that I went. First of all, it was held at Michigan State University and I’ll use just about any excuse to revisit my second home. Plus the event just sounded very intriguing. 17 speakers given 18 minutes to give the best speech of their life, plus videos from other TED events.
I couldn’t possibly stuff everything I learned from the event into this post, but I do want to share some of the highlights. John Hill, the Director of Alumni Career Services at MSU started off. His speech was given entirely on placards, which definitely set the tone for this conference. His job is helping people connect and he wanted to show how useful Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are for that. He is also a huge fan of the sweater vest.
Next up was Justin “Bugsy” Sailor. I thought his speech was interesting because he set out to travel across the country, staying at the homes of strangers along the way. The whole trip changed when he realized he was staying with strangers, but with friends he had not met yet. Definitely a life changing experience and one in which he had to step outside of a comfort zone.
I loved Allie Merrick’s speech. She is a speaker, poet, and singer and her presentation was a combination of all three. It was brave and powerful and was about the art of speaking. She said that silence is a rare commodity and you must raise the value of your voice in order to be heard.
Bob Fish is a bit of a hometown success story in East Lansing. He graduated from MSU and went on to found Biggby Coffee (formally Beaner’s). I love how he connects with his business by traveling around and buying people coffee. He stayed away from a powerpoint presentation and instead sat in a chair, held some index cards and spoke about various aspects of business. His was one of the best speeches that day. I got a number of gems from him:
- Choose to be profitable. A small business must be profitable, so decide profit is an expense line and pay upfront.
- Not free. Social media is not free, it is a good marketing tool though. Don’t forget to mention the name of your business. It takes time, effort, and thought.
- Risk. Entrepreneurs are often called risky, that they are gambling. Not true, they often have an idea or info that is just a little bit different.
- ROI x 10. Return on Involvement: give time, money, products and it will always come back to you tenfold.
- Be happy, make friends, find love and you will always be successful.
The author of Socialnomics, Erik Qualman also spoke. The number 1 need for humans is to belong and that is what makes social media so popular. He believes that social media is going the way of social commerce, in that you are more likely to buy something if your network of friends recommend it.
You always know that a speech has to be good when someone comes onstage carrying a firehouse to try and fill a tea cup. Karl Gude teaches information visualization for the School of Journalism at MSU. I wish that I had a paper napkin to draw a diagram of what happened, but instead I share with you this video. Equate that to the information overload that we get from the internet. We get so much bad news all the time and the brain is not wired for constant pain. He said it is okay to move on. It is important though to share information with your audience from a teapot instead of a firehouse, so target your audience instead of aiming for everyone. I also loved his message of evolving with technology, don’t be an “I don’t.” He also stressed the importance of using illustrations, graphics, and photos to help people scan, notice, and understand your information.
Betsy Miner Swartz had an important message as well. Her speech made tears well up in my eyes, but it was important. It is no longer good enough to just sign the back of your Michigan driver’s license in order to be on the organ donation registry. You must sign up online now. Michigan is much below the average and she is trying to help change that. Sign up today and get your heart sticker for your driver’s license. Give the gift of life.
There was so much more and I apologize for leaving anyone out. If there is a TEDx conference in your area I highly recommend going. It was funny, informative, and motivational. TEDxDetroit is set to take place on September 29, 2010 on Wayne State University at the Detroit Institute of Arts and I hope to be able to attend.