Social:IRL Recap

This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to go to my first business conference. The Start-Thinking crew went to Lawrence for Social:IRL, who was hosting a social media boot camp with Sarah Evans. She is the owner of Sevans Strategy and was recently featured in Vanity Fair, who identified her as one of “America’s Tweethearts.”

This boot camp was an intense six hour session filled with presentations, case studies, Q&As, and discussions. The audience was filled with people throughout the varying stages of knowledge of SM and Sarah made sure that she not only covered tactics but answered questions for those who seemed to be behind.

In my opinion, she was an excellent speaker because she kept us engaged. She wasn’t there to dictate to us; she wanted us to learn and apply what she was teaching us into our own SM needs. The problem with SM is that there are thousands of ways to it badly, but there are also infinite number of ways to do it right. There is not one way that will work for everybody; especially in difficult fields such as healthcare and law. She gave us the tactics to use, but it was up to us to figure out what were the best options for us and how to use them correctly.

Another trait of an excellent speaker is feeling and feeding from the audience. She was cognizant of when there was a lull in engagement and when we were interested in the topic. If we weren’t responding, then she would change her speaking style-moving from one end of the room to another. She had us take breaks or engage with each other to keep the energy up. Towards the end of the boot camp, Sarah took questions from the audience and then based her last hour of presentation on answering those questions. She really made the audience feel included and valued throughout the boot camp.

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