Email Marketing, Blogging, Presenting, Networking – But school’s nearly out!

By the morning of Day 3 of Warren’s excellent Grow Your Business retreat I’d more or less had enough brain-wise and was extremely glad that ‘School’s out!’ was just around the corner. That was a shame in a way because, as I was to discover, some of the best stuff (in my opinion) was yet to come!

I recall little of the inevitable networking aspect that came with breakfast. Maybe because by then it was more like sitting down with some friends and making some new acquaintances.

Email Magic?

The first session of the day was with Lee Callender, the MD of Mail Magic.

I thought he was impressive both as a potential supplier who would take the trouble to understand a client’s real needs. Just one unsexy yet vital example: He’s one of the few people I’ve come across in many years who understands the fundamental necessity of knowing your target market and being able to clearly and concisely describe those identifiable characteristics to a data provider – get that bit wrong and you might as well forget the rest! :-(

He admitted that things don’t always go perfectly and I loved the ‘get out of jail card’ he created whilst giving him and his staff the time to work on how to put any wrongs right (ask him…). He seemed the kind of person I’d enjoy doing business with. I found his hour’s stint thoroughly interesting and informative.

I’m annoyed with myself that I seem to have misplaced my notes but you can bone up somewhat by having a look at the Hints and Tips section of his company website.

Zero to Blogger

Next, having played with the sheep and boned up on LinkedIn, I finally got to see my mate Sarah Arrow in action with her Master Class on Blogging.

I may well be biased as I really prefer the ‘take-me-anywhere-and-just-give-me-a-flipchart/whatever’ approach that Sarah uses and perhaps because I also happen to feel more comfortable delivering. I believe the content can be on-the-hoof adapted to be more relevant to the audience and the value is therefore potentially much greater than the more stylised PowerPoint or equivalent presentations.

This session also bought home that, really valuable though the information, tips, what-tos and what-not-tos are that Sarah shares, it is so much easier having your own mentor, whip cracker, puppeteer, whatever name you give, who knows what they’re doing and will devise, orchestrate and run your campaign(s) for you:

I don’t know about you but I get it in principle – it’s the keeping up to date with everything and the elegant and successful execution that flumoxes me! :-( It’s one of those things I somehow reckon are, in my case anyway, much better outsourced to experts.

Presentation Skills Masterclass

We were back to mainstream sessions now and this one turned out to be totally unlike anything I was expecting. It delivered to brief yet it was refreshingly different in the way it did so.

Lisa van den Berg used a mixture of a particularly poignant story that may have been real or from her own imagination, together with anecdotes from her own personal experiences… that maybe many of us could have identified with!

To me, it was as much an exercise in Use Your Own Experiences to Make a Real, even if only brief, Connection with Others. Anyway, to find out a bit more, our Sarah nabbed Lisa pretty sharpish for a guest post on Birds On The Blog so, have a mosey over there rather than me repeating or rehashing it here!

Lunch! And, er Networking…

This was Dave Clarke‘s opportunity to share with us how NRG networking lunches work. I’ve met Dave on several occasions over recent years and must say his approach is definitely of the ‘relationship first’ mode.

What was a particular eye opener for me was the fact that we had once again been joined by the Inner Flame contingent of teenagers – whose organisation chief was responsible, together with Warren Cass, for this event coming about.

I cannot imagine that I, as a teenager, could have sat with business people like Jo, Steven Andrew and me and talked about what was important to me, what I wanted to achieve, ideas I had about doing that and so on in the way that Megan, Laura, Lauren, Charlotte and Simon – go there and hover a bit :-) – did at our table.

Event Summary – What did I get out of it?

I may have missed nuggets by having to leave early on that third and last day so somebody else who stayed the full course might wish to pick up baton?

As it was, and seems to be more and more usual for me, it was the unexpected and probably not obviously business oriented moments that were the most value – the sheep and teenager encounters were priceless!

Having said that, I’ve made contact on line and/ or by phone with people I met there or were made aware of – and others have done similar with me. It’s so far impossible to gauge the ultimate value of attending the event.

So let’s take it right back to basics:
Did I have fun and enjoy myself? I’d say. largely: Yes :-)
Was it worthwhile in terms of the parameters I’d set in advance for it? Um, oh oops, can I take the fifth, please?…

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8 Responses to “Email Marketing, Blogging, Presenting, Networking – But school’s nearly out!”

  1. Sounds like a great event Linda, such a variety of topics and presenters, with different styles and paces to suit everyone.

    What was you biggest take-away from the whole experience?

  2. I’d love to see and hear Sarah’s flip-chart extravaganza!
    Now—what will you do with your newly expanded network? I’d love to hear whether you met anyone you might partner with on a project.
    Also, my curiosity has been aroused by your next-to-last sentence. What were your goals and hopes for the event?

  3. Lisa says:

    What a great lineup! I also subscribe to the ‘take-me-anywhere-and-just-give-me-a-flipchart/whatever’ approach – that’s so much better than a dull powerpoint presentation – and it’s so much easier to get everyone involved in a discussion. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Anita says:

    Hi Linda, it sounds like it was a very interesting event. I enjoyed seeing it through your eyes – thank you.

  5. Thanks ladies for your contributions so far! :-)

    I believe that the more honest exchanges we have about how we perceive our situations (not on public platforms like this, obviously) – not wallowing but not grandstanding with phoney “everything it absolutely wonderful, dahling” either – with people who will challenge us, hold us to account and support and champion us, the better each of our lives become.

  6. Sarah Arrow says:

    That flip chart method means the audience take home exactly what they are looking to know compared to a pre-prepared presentation.
    One of the hardest things is seeing that everyone in the group gets value, and it’s tough as everyone is at different levels, so powerpoint doesn’t serve me or the audience well.

    Having a whip-cracker makes you accountable and it means you get results :)

  7. Yolanda says:

    Wow! Last part sounds great and it sounds like you got a whole bunch of good experiences. Now we just need to get Sarah over here on this side of the pond so I can see her speak too!

  8. Fanastic that are able to attend a retreat on the very topics many people struggle with! So nice that you have these connections and share them here, thank you.

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