Today was definitely a highlight in my life.
As a professional speaker on marketing, an obvious pinnacle would be the ability to speak in your hometown to a sold-out crowd of five thousand people on the same stage as two of the world's best communicators - Bill Clinton and Anthony Robbins.
That was my day.
It's a little surreal to write that down and know that it happened only a couple of hours ago. It's also interesting because the Power Within events are tagged as "one full day of inspiration, motivation and entertainment that will ignite your spirit." If you're reading this, you know that I'm not a motivation speaker. I'm a Marketer and I love to present on the topics of new media, brand democratization and personal branding. I definitely don't do what people like Mike Lipkin or Anthony Robbins bring to the stage, at the same time there needs to be a diversity of content to fill a whole day. I provide marketing insights on personal branding that will hopefully get individuals to realize that we are all brands, what that means and why it's so critical in a world of six pixels of separation.
What's the marketing lesson behind the Power Within Montreal event today?
People still want to connect in person. As many CDs, books and DVDs that are out there with this content, human nature is such that we do like to congregate, learn, share and grow together. Marketers should not loose focus of the power of getting into the trenches and watching your customers - because as powerful as social media is in terms of democratizing the voice and decentralizing the content, real "moments in time" happen when people who have shared values get together to be entertained or inspired.
Hanging out with people like Irshad Manji (author of the best-selling book, The Trouble With Islam Today) and speaking to people like Terry Savage, Mike Lipkin and Jerry Greenfield (Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's) gave me tactical insights into various groups of people, with unique interests and how the marketing messages are reaching these specific groups. Whether it is activists trying to reform a religion, old school hippies selling ice cream or women and their finance, it was abundantly clear that the online channels have paved a new way for their message to spread.
Although we often live in the echo chamber, it was liberating to hear each speaker talk to me about the power of the online channel and how much it has changed their business.
On a personal level, I just enjoyed the day. Yes, the content was stellar, but I also acquired countless presentation and communication skills, tricks and tips just by watching the other speakers do their thing. From the commanding confidence of Mike Lipkin to the directness and warmth of Irshad Manji. From the pragmatic Terry Savage to the ever-so-humble Jerry Greenfield.
The afternoon took everything to the next level. This was my second time seeing Anthony Robbins live and my fifth time seeing Bill Clinton. While both styles run at polar opposites, their ability to communicate clearly and with passion is unparalleled.
It was, indeed, a very special day... and I would have said that regardless of having accomplished a lifetime dream of sharing the stage with these world-class experts.