Guest Blog: How Generosity at One Conference Led to Opportunities at Several Others

Mike BrunyFounder of AmbassadorBruny.com, Mike Bruny is an author and certified life coach.

As a myGreenlight alum, I’m always looking for opportunities to put the mindsets and principles to work. A few months ago I had an opportunity to put the myGreenlight teachings into practice at an event and it led to opportunities at many others.

Where It All Started

In June 2011 I was working on a program called, “Hashtags to Handshakes: The New Art of Conference Networking.” Many of the principles in my program have been inspired by participation in myGreenlight. I was heading to the National Urban League conference, which was held in Boston this year. I noticed they had a panel discussion that would be focused on networking. Staying true to what I teach in my program, I researched the panelist and noticed I knew at least one of them from some work I did a couple of years ago. I made sure that I reached out to my old contact letting him know that I am looking forward to his session and reconnecting.

The day of the panel discussion had arrived and I was ready to tweet about the discussion.  I noticed that in many of the sessions during the conference, it was a mission to find out the twitter handles of the speakers. I’m not sure why they didn’t put it up on a slide before the session began. So, before we got started I went up to the panelists and let them know that I am looking forward to tweeting their words of wisdom and would like to include their Twitter handle. They gladly gave it to me.

I did as I promised and tweeted the information that I found valuable and even put together a summary following the event and made sure to send it to the panelist (You can read the post here.)  They were very appreciative and it allowed me to keep the relationship alive with many of them.

The First Opportunity

Immediately following the session I went to talk with the panelists and told them what I appreciated about the panel discussion.  I also told them to let me know if there is anyway that I may be of assistance to them.  One of them took me up on that offer right away.  Hajj Flemings, a technology dude and co-founder of Go-Kit was going to have a branding workshop, “BrandCampU” in Boston in a few months and asked to use my assistance with promoting the event.  I gladly obliged.  Working with Hajj on promoting BrandCampU also led to setting up a meet-up the day following the conference for “Blacks in Tech” in the Boston area.  A win-win for all involved.  He had a chance to connect with some people in Boston and I had a chance to be of service, as well as connect with some new people who I am now working with on new projects.

The Second Opportunity

Following the networking session, I also had a chance to connect with Melinda Emerson, who shared some of the great things that she is working on.  I asked her, “what are you most excited about?” as well as, “what is your biggest challenge?”  She shared that time is her biggest challenge.  She is doing so many great things and is busy enough to need a clone. Of course at the end of our conversation I told her, “let me know if I may be of service in any way.”  I listened to what she said her biggest challenge was, I went home and put on my life coaching hat and really gave it some thought, then I followed up with a notecard with a few suggestions. She followed up with an email of appreciation for the kind note.

We stayed in touch and she ended up creating a video for my “Hashtags to Handshake” program and invited me to be a guest on her TwitterChat show, #SmallBizChat. I jumped at the opportunity (that’s not entirely true, I was scared, but did it anyway).  Being on her TwitterChat show led to me being contacted by the Massachusetts Women’s Conference — they liked the notes from the TwitterChat. Since I was looking to connect with conferences for my program, I took a moment to think how I could be of service to the conference and then I went for it. I reached out introduced myself and asked about putting on my program for the conference. There wasn’t enough time to put on the full program, but I was given the opportunity to interview one of the speakers at the conference. They expected to receive a written interview but I surprised them by recording the interview and presenting them with an audio file.

Being in full generosity mode I did not expect anything in return except the opportunity to continue the relationship. To my surprise I received an email stating that I would have a press pass waiting for me at the conference. The goodness that comes from generosity just keeps on coming. I have been in touch with one of the organizers of the event and we are looking at ways for me to be of assistance to some of their sponsors. She has also been a great advocate for providing an organizer’s perspective as I work on growing the conference networking section of AmbassadorBruny.com.

Lessons Learned

Generosity Comes in Many Forms

  1. Promoting an event
  2. Helping to set-up an event
  3. Sharing speaker content at a conference (via Twitter)
  4. Sharing my knowledge to potentially help solve a challenge
  5. Creating content that can be shared (for a TwitterChat)
  6. Conducting an interview on behalf of someone else

Know What You Have to Offer

In my case, I enjoy creating and sharing content. I enjoy connecting with people and telling their story. I am also not shy about reaching out to people I don’t know if I believe it’s a win-win situation. I am solution oriented, so I’ll go into my bat cave and come up with possible solutions to problems individuals have. I leverage these skills when it comes to connecting with different people.

Make Pinging a Habit

Just touching base every so often can be a powerful tool to keep you top of mind and find opportunities to be of service. It may not all happen right away, but just keep pinging and keep adding value.

Most of my focus at conferences is on turning online contacts to offline business relationships. Do you have a great conference story where you turned hashtags(online) to handshakes(offline) relationships? I’d love to hear it.

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