For those who are not familiar with MassChallenge, it’s an accelarator program for start-ups. To answer a FAQ, “No” the word Mass in MassChallenge does not stand for Massachusetts. It’s stands for Massive, big, huge, etc. They get over 1000 applicants each year and select a little over 100 to participant in their program. What do they get? They get the opportunity to be mentoring, networking and a shot at $50-$100K in cash prizes (a total of $1M in cash is given away and $9M of inkind prizes).
Before the 2012 MassChallenge Awards began I had a chance to catch up with a few of the start-ups. I asked them various questions like, “What stood out most about the program? and what sparked the idea for your start-up?” Read more
The New Art of Conference Networking Heads to Portland, Maine For the Day
Before we start, I have to ask: Are you or someone you know getting ready to go to a conference in the next few months (October – December)? Have you checked out my new course, “The New Art of Conference Networking?” Don’t let them go to the conference worried about what they have to offer or how they can stop from feeling overwhelmed. <—Those are the things I help people with everyday. Send them here: http://bit.ly/confconfidence . Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
Before we jump into the Twitter recap, here are some of the things that made this event cool in my opinion:
- The Networking Prompts: As soon as you got there you could take a sticker that said, “Talk to me About…” It let you know that this wasn’t going to be a haphazard attempt at connecting people– I’m not sure how many people actually used the branded post-it notes, but I like the sentiment. The other thing that was subtle but paying attention the “people” element of the conference was the organizer, Rich Brooks, taking a moment to ask people to get up, stretch and talk to someone they do not know. Sitting and listening to speakers like Chris Brogan can totally put you in a trance where you forget there are other human beings around you. Other human beings who are more likely to build a relationship with you that could lead to business.
- The Breaks: The presentations started at 9 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. For many that is their standard work day (wait a minute, we are talking about small business owners and entrepreneurs here, there is no standard work day, but let’s go with it). The flow was presentation, presentation, BREAK, workshop, LUNCH, presentation, workshop, BREAK, presentation. The presentations and workshops were 50 minutes short and the breaks where 30 minutes long. The 30 minute breaks gave enough time to digest the content, cookies and coffee; as well as get mentally prepped for the next session.
- The Speakers: The speakers were very gracious when people came to talk with them. I think the intimacy of the event allowed for them to have their guards down a bit. Rubbing elbows with cool folks like Chris Brogan, Amy Porterfield, Derek Halpern and Jaime Tardy are not everyday happenings for many people and they serve as aspirational symbols of where many of us would like to take our business / brand.
Stay tuned for my video that will talk about some of the things that happened when I put my Hashtags to Handshakes methodology in play for this event.
Here is a recap using Storify to capture some of the event’s magic via Tweets. Of course being there is the best way to really experience an event and the people, but this is a close second. Read more