I’ve been tortured the past few weeks on how to convince you that attending SOBConNW 2011 on September 16-18, 2011, will change your life. As usual, when it comes to my favorite annual conference, I find myself wordless. It’s that profound.
If the SOBConNW Program and descriptions at the SOBCon site doesn’t convince you, maybe these people can.
Immediately Actionable Feedback – And I mean immediate. The Mastermind format asks you to look inward, at YOUR business, right from the beginning. Then you talk about your business to the other people at your table, and the feedback starts, intertwined with the wisdom offered by the speakers at the podium. That process is then repeated 6 times. It’s a very potent mixture. By the end of the day you will have already taken steps in a different, and more productive, direction.
…many conferences attract thinkers and talkers. The people who attend SOBCon are definitely thinkers, and many have no problem talking – but there is a bias toward action. If you want concrete inspiration, this is a place to find it…there is a surprising proportion of people gathering at SOBCon who will very generously give of their time and expertise. We all need mentors. This is a room full.
SOBCon is the perfect conference for anyone who’s looking to build a successful business using online tools. It’s also one of the best places to meet some of the most influential people in the business blogging world. Let me explain.
Most conferences attract thousands of people, but SOBCon is different because they only let 150 people attend. They limit it to 150 people because Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker, the founders of SOB Con, use what they call the “models and masterminds” format for speaker presentations.
What are the “models and masterminds?” It’s intense, hands-on training that simply can’t work with thousands of people. The group needs to be small because each speaker breaks down their own methodology for building a business(the model) and then they help you apply it to your business (the mastermind). It’s truly an awesome way to learn.
SOBCon is business school for bloggers and this year’s focus is strategy and tactics for integrating online and offline social marketing. Speakers, attendees, and sponsors alike are there to learn, grow, and network together. It’s serious business, with a splash of fun.
To wrap up, this was my third year attending @SOBCon, and if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to use social media for marketing while fully embracing your ability to do good in the world, it’s one of those conferences to put on your “must-attend” list. It’s very inspiring to be a part of an event in which people demonstrate they believe in each other and act on those beliefs.
SOBCon 07 is going to be a lot of fun. And I suspect a mind-blowing learning experience.
I can’t wait to meet so many of the people I’m already interacting with online on a regular basis; people that have quickly grown into friends. And so many of the attendees I don’t know at all, which gives me an even bigger opportunity to connect, network and have fun.
Every time you try something new there’s always some unexpected effect. SOBCon 2010 was something new for me. And the unexpected effect was relationships.
That may seem an odd statement. We go to conferences to network and build relationships. At least, that’s what we tell our bosses and our companies. Think. We often fail–don’t we?
I was happy about how easy it was to build relationships at SOBCon. It’s small, which makes it easier. It’s sessions are like workshops (mastermind groups), which makes it easier. And it’s designed to keep people together, intimately, for 36 hours or so–again, making it easier.
As I prepare for day two of this event, I spent some time reflecting on my first day’s experience. To provide some context “SOBCon” stands for “Successful Outstanding Blogger Conference.” In my opinion, it’s logical to expect this would be an event focusing on education directed at the business of blogging. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
About midway through yesterday’s sessions I realized this conference was more about business thinking, and not so much about sharpening blogging skills. I am not disappointed. I am just surprised.
You see, I attended the SOBCon conference last year on a simple, gut level belief that I was meant to be in that room, and what SOBCon helped me realize was that there was a whole world of opportunity out there that I had not been allowing myself to dream about. For years I had let the limitations of my kidney failure – and ultimately the transplant process – limit my view of the difference I could make in the world.
My experience at SOBCon, along with the guidance of a truly wise friend, helped me to see that it was time to start expressing myself. And when I say, “myself,” I mean the real me.
The many years I had spent successfully climbing the corporate ladder had left me out of balance. I was clinging to all of the masculine traits that I possess that had enabled me to be successful, and was suppressing most of my feminine side.
What I had failed to consider was the possibility that by being more in balance, by expressing my true feminine side, that I might have been even more successful…that perhaps by limiting my self-expression I was actually holding myself back!
…Of course, it was only in retrospect I realized that this was a gift – and an incredible blessing. Why? It forced me to understand at the depth of my soul how important it was to express myself – my true self, goddess power and all – rather than to continue to conform to a view of what was expected of me as a successful business leader.
How is SobCon different from other business, blogging or social media conferences? Well, at the heart of it is the love shown by the two founders, Liz and Terry. There is never any doubt that love is at the center of everything – for the attendees, sponsors, speakers, non-profit groups, conference location employees, and anyone who crosses our path basically!
The first two days are designed to get us thinking with some of the best speakers actually in the world, like: Chris Brogan, Tim Sanders (who inspired this post on gratitude!), Steve Farber and Cathy Brooks. After each of these and other wonderful speakers, we discuss how the lessons they presented can impact our online businesses. For example, Cathy shared the importance of ’sharing our story’ through our blog and/or online business, and how critical that is. (Watch for another blog post this week on the ’story’ of Girlfriendology and more lessons from SobCon.) So, for two days we mastermind together – share ideas, help each other, encourage one another. (More love for each other!)
What Does Talent Engagement Look, Walk, Talk and Feel Like?
There’s an old axiom that says, “Don’t tell me – show me.” Here are just a few of the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of talent engagement in action.
Commitment and Accountability: “Believe and Do” isn’t just a catch-phrase, it’s the reason we come together.
What IF every company could operate at the SobCon level?
The answer is that all levels of talent would be engaged in the work, getting exponentially smarter and helping each other move business forward! Liz Strauss summarized it well with her rousing commencement…without saying a word.
“Biz School for Bloggers.” What makes this concept really important is simply this: we’re at a time in our universe where we don’t NEED a lot of the old infrastructure to do something meaningful and making a reasonable living, but we DO need business knowledge, business sense, and a reasonably worked out plan of what needs doing and which steps to take to get there.
I know that I’ve talked up the networking part of going to conferences in the past – and honestly, I believe that meeting intelligent, influential people is going to be the #1 benefit from going to any conference, period. What SOBCon and Unleashed are doing differently, though, is that they are focusing on being a true teaching/consulting experience. And you’d pay a heck of a lot more than the ticket price of either of these two conferences if you were to hire these consultants on your own.
I could fill up several books with what I learned at SOBCon’07 but here’s the Cliff notes version:
I made the Right Choice to Go To SOBCon ’07 — You know that great feeling you get when you have an “ah ha” moment? Ever have about 50 of those in one day? That was what it was like for me to attend SOBCon’07. That’s a very cool thing!! Yes, it was Mother’s Day weekend. Yes, I had a million other things I “should” have been doing. But I am SO GLAD I was there. And I can’t wait for next year.
Relationship Marketing is alive and well. It was the past and is going to be SO much of the future. Just because we’ve got a self publishing tool, it doesn’t replace the actual relationship with a real person. Long really good blog rolls are created one person at a time. Building a relationship with “bloggers” means building a relationship with people. Blogging is just a tool like a business card, website, television advertising, catalog, sell sheets or trade show booths are a tool… but a very cool tool, indeed!
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of conferences. I despise being surrounded by smarmy affiliate marketers and exhibit booth ants that want to give me stickers I’ll never put on anything except an arch enemy’s Mercedes. I hate feeling cheated because I forked out $X and honestly, felt like I should be on the panel instead of listening to it.
When you’re at a certain place in your business, the 101-level common conference fodder doesn’t cut it. Sometimes the 201 “next step” sessions are even a snore. While we all needed these at one point and I frequently teach them along with several of my colleagues, WE are looking for something to add extraordinary value to our respective businesses.
The weekend I spent in Chicago for SOBCon in April of this year was one of the best of my professional life (and it sure as hell beat my first honeymoon by a mile). And now Liz and Terry are bringing SOBCon to Colorado for a 1.25 day event.
I’m not going to try to sell you on the conference. YOU need to decide if you feel the $31 per hour price tag is a reasonable investment for your business. But here’s what you can expect to find when you walk into the room (and I’ll bet it’s different than any other “conference” you’ve attended)
SOBCon isn’t about the “how to.”
It’s about the “how do YOU…”
As part of the Network Solutions social media team I was lucky to attend SOBCon in Chicago last weekend. Unlike many events in my industry, SOBCon focused on team ‘mind storming’ with a goal to give and share to help others without an agenda of WIIFM (google it). The experience was truly rewarding and the advice I learned from team members, attendees, and speakers helped me cross a new road block that really only existed in my own mind (and I learned that most of ours all do)…I have many other changes yet to make on this journey, but refocusing some of my energy on me as opposed to what I want to accomplish has opened my mind to avenues I have yet to explore.
Everyone who attends the conference knows that their career (and, in many ways, their life) will change dramatically over the next year because of the influence the people they meet will have on them during the course of the three-day event. You see, it truly is the people in the room that make all the difference.
Last year when I was debating whether to attend the conference I asked Liz Strauss, the Co-Founder of SOBCon, “Who attends?” Her response: “The people who are meant to be in the room.”
My heart told me I was meant to me one of those people. Once there, the universe sat me next to all the right people over the course of the three days – people who would have a profound impact on the path I took over this past year.
SOBCon Colorado was a social media conference with a mastermind format that featured 14 hours of learning and networking opportunities. It featured fantastic speakers that helped us focus on strategy and tactics for integrating online and offline social marketing.
Unlike many other conferences I’ve gone to, I came away with a to do list of goals, homework and strategies for the next year. Even better, since I’m attending SOBcon 2011 in Chicago, I’m able to reevaluate my goals in seven months.
Earlier this year, I attended the amazing mastermind conference known as SOBCon and one of the topics we discussed was how fear affected our businesses.
The panel discussed how two types of fears can hold us back. Some of us fear failure – this is no surprise, our entire school system is built upon getting ostracized for trying something and it not working out perfectly. People who fear failure just don’t try at all.
Then, there are a whole other group of people who fear success. They are not sure if they are ready to step up to the plate when success stares them in the face, so they sabotage their efforts.
When our group came to discuss this topic vis-à-vis our own businesses, I had a different answer altogether. I wasn’t afraid of success OR failure. I was afraid of mediocrity.
Answer this question and you could make yourself so much happier and successful, ignore it and you could be making yourself and those around you miserable.
This is something I have been pondering since my recent trip to SOBCon. Something strange happens when Terry Starbucker and I get together. It seems we have an unwritten rule that all our conversations must in some way fix the world.
Once you know what your nature is then you can choose how you express it. The most important thing is to delve into the deepest folds of your brain and work out how you were programmed, what kind of mission were your circuits built to do?
Liz told me what to expect but of course the reality can never be done justice with words, it has to be experienced.
As far as learnings, my head is still buzzing. Every single person I met gave me a new, fresh and invigorating perspective. There are people using this social media stuff for everything from adversity, to parenting to health. We had an expert on making sales coming from the other direction and wanting to make community, and we had the guys with community asking how they can make sales without losing the trust of their audience. A lot to process. I am sure there are lots of reports popping up all over and I will try to link to some in a future post.
One thing is for sure. You have to make SOBCon09.
You can attend lots of other conferences and find, in isolated corners and pockets, these kind of people. But at SOBCon, it’s distilled – 100-proof quality. That’s why it’s my favorite gathering of the year.
After SOBcon, a three day social media/business/blogging mastermind convention in Chicago. I feel like the David After Dentist kid, it’s hard to step back into reality after three days of being surrounded by some of the most caring, innovative and successful people in the business. Here’s how SOBcon changed my life and the five things that you can do to change your life.
1. Surround Yourself With Positive People
2. Learn from others
3. Help Change Someone Else’s Life
4. Rock it.
5. Take More Risks
I’m not exaggerating when I say the quality of people in the room at SOBCon made it the best conference I’ve attended in a long while. Being surrounded by that much brain power and integrity and emotional fortitude and humor and good will is powerful in a way that’s hard to articulate. I was humbled, truly, to be among that group.
This past weekend, I attended the SOBCon, Virtual Meets Concrete, social media conference. It was my first social media gathering. I was intimidated, because what I’ve done with my blog, twitter, etc. over the last four years has been amateur-intuitive, at best, and not driven by any informed strategy.
But I knew I wanted to take social media to the next level, and SOBCon seemed to fit the bill. I had no preconceived notions of what to expect other than show up, see what happens and learn. What happened? I fell in love. Literally.
Love hits when you least expect it…
As was the case when I met my husband 25 years ago, love usually hits when you least expect it. You stumble along knowing something’s missing but you don’t know what. You date. You meet new people, but nothing seems quite right. And then a friend says, “Hey, I know someone.” You think, “What the heck, why not.” Next thing you know, love. The pieces fit together. That’s what happened to me at SOBCon.
I know I’m verging on the corny and dramatic. But as was the case the last time I unexpectedly fell in love more than two decades ago, it’s very hard to accurately describe the experience in words because it’s overwhelming. In fact, I’m glad my computer stopped working the first day of the conference or there would have been an endless stream of tweets in my Twitter stream that were variations of, “awesome,” and “amazing.”
This meeting of 150 unique individuals from social media, business, non-profit, entertainment, and mainstream media ended up providing solutions to a number of business challenges with which I’d been grappling for awhile. And it was unexpected and happened by chance—the topic, the speaker, the panels, the table mates, and the conversations all happened to lead to the answers that I, in some cases, didn’t even know I needed.
This year, hosts and producers Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker take the event to a whole new level bringing together some of the brightest minds in the business web world to help you learn not just how exciting the web business world is, but how you can embrace it fully.
Before I start sounding like a used car salesman, let me describe your experience. Those who attend a SOBCon event often come away with stars in their eyes, all glowing and enlightened, and unable to really describe what happened without using words like earth-shattering, mind blowing, unbelievable, and changed my whole approach and way of thinking. So let’s get down to what really happens.
You all know that old game, asking each other who you would bring to your dinner table if you could bring anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be? Liz and Terry have answered that question for you, bringing together 150 people into one room, participants, speakers, and sponsors, all together, sitting at the same tables, your own personal dinner table conversation with five or six of the most brilliant minds.
Stunned and staring at my screen. Fingers resting on my keyboard. I walk around to find out what I’m thinking …
Last Friday morning at SOBCon2010, we looked at our hands and considered all the ways we use them to communicate — all the information and feelings that we pass through them.
Thank you to every person who helped us build more than we imagined. It will take a while to unpack the complete value of your contribution.
Without your fearless participation, we might be remembering a meeting.
Instead we built meaning. We saw, heard, and understood each other.
Damn it’s fun to take your brain out to play in a roomful of smart people!!
No wonder I keep staring at my screen.
You have changed my life.
Can’t wait to do it again!
For a discount coupon for the event, you must register by August 8 at midnight and use lorellenw as the discount code. There are wonderful hotel arrangements, but if the cost of lodging is holding you back, I’ve plenty of room for you to stay with me. Don’t let anything stop you from attending. It’s that kind of powerful event.
This is the moment. Make your decision to change your life and online business now.