SOBCon 2011 Models Teams and Tables

Wondering what went on at SOBCon? Let me tell you . . . this post is one of several in a series.

Deciding who to sit with can affect your SOBCon outcome. Your table is your group. This year, I got really lucky. Two people left our table because it was too busy for them, but I’m used to living and working in a noisy and distracted zone. So, I enjoyed sitting at the conference media production table with five amazing people, including the world-famous Lorelle Van Fossen who writes the blog Lorelle on WordPress and is a . . . 

tough love critic who gives honest feedback. A focused discussion leader, Lorelle makes sure the experience, in any group, delivers amazing value.

Quite experienced and enlightening, Dave Moyer, founder and CEO of BitWire Media, shared his perspectives from many successful enterprise vantage points.

Dr. Natalie Pethouoff, blogger at Dr. Natalie News, is the chief social media strategist for Weber Shandwick. How cool to meet the person who drives global strategy for a leading PR firm. I loved her stylish cape!

Anne-Marie Nichols and I have been at the same BlogHer conferences over the years. It’s always good to see her. She’s a consultant and writes the blog This Momma Cooks. I know she writes many more, but this is the one we focused on.

Barbara Palmer, senior editor of Convene magazine, joined us on Saturday. She’s thinking of staring a blog about Brooklyn. I hope she does! How fun to experience a neighborhood from an editor’s perspective. We could have easily exchanged scarves.

Models or Modules?

Being a trainer and curriculum designer, I kept wanting to say Module, not Model. But a module implies that it’s connected and an integral part of something bigger. A model is stronger because it stands on it’s own –would you agree?

Six SOBCon Models

One speaker presented each of six models in an easy-to-digest and take action format: 20 minutes of presentation, 10 minutes of questions and 30 minutes or so of practical application via small group team discussion time. Here are the 2011 models.

Model 1: Critical Value of a Congruent Story, presented by Cathy Brooks, CEO of Story Navigation

Storytelling is what every communicator sets out to do.

But, whose story are you telling? Cathy suggested that your personal story is the one you must present. Your perspective is the common thread that runs through all of the stories.

When you approach people on a personal level, it changes lives. As your conviction shines through, your story becomes persuasive.

In our team breakout, we discussed the critical value of a congruent story by answering these questions:

What is your business? Who’s the competition? Where do you want to go?

For more information on storytelling and PR, read Storyteller Marketing for Business

Model 2: Non-verbal Intelligence Cues and Connections presented by Derek Halpern, CEO. Social Triggers

Derek talked about how to tune up your site. Out of all the sessions, this is probably the one that caused the most immediate action. People were changing font sizes as he spoke.

To Derek, leadership is not about big traffic numbers, it’s about loyal traffic numbers.  Web design-related problems accounted for most traffic and conversion problems.

Derek shared these tips:

  • Increase site font size to 14 [kind of odd that font sizes in this post vary]
  • Limit paragraph length to no more than three to four lines and less than three in the first.
  • Decrease site load time.
  • Take this test: if you remove your header tagline, can people tell what your site is about? [confession: I have to work on this one]
  • Use action colors like orange, for RSS, that tells people where to click.
  • Every page needs a specific goal. A good example is the DIY themes checkout that has only one link and a column that highlights benefits.
  • For a landing page idea, check out free personality test.
  • Create content that creates tension. Tell people what they’re doing wrong, but not how to fix it.

Model 3: Volunteers and Partners as Highly Paid Employees and Employees as Heartfelt Volunteers presented by Terry Starbucker, Co-Founder SOBCon, Ramblings from a Glass Half Full

Terry talked about heartfelt model for leadership. Question-based an appropriate for managers and peer relationships, this is also a great model for organizations.

Ask yourself these questions, too.

WMTH – What makes them happy? It’s not always about the money.

Terry suggested asking these questions:

  1. What are they here for?
  2. How will you respect their work that is part of the “cause,” and ultimately WMTH?
  3. Find the connection between their work, the cause and the WMTH – what is the “difference maker”?
  4. How do you demonstrate leadership by “Showing the Way” to WMTH through the work and the cause? What’s the “pitch” that connects all the dots?

Model 4: RE-Energize Your BOW (Body of Work) and the Community It Attracts presented by Steve Farber, Founder Extreme Leadership

Why do you love what you do? Steve Farber asked.

Our table dug into the discussion around what more can I do to deepen my knowledge, expand my wisdom and broaden my experience?

Steve challenged us to develop our own point of view, which is something we have the opportunity to express in social media everyday.

How about you – could you be more opinionated?

Model 5: Loyalty Programs: Rewarding Senders and Spenders presented by Carol Roth, Business Strategist, Deal Maker, Author of the Entrepreneur Equation, CEO of IntercapMP

Do customer loyalty programs make people loyal to the offer or to you?

Carol suggests that people become more loyal to the offer than they do to the company.

You never want to compete on price, only on value.

Get clear on your spenders and senders. Identify the pillars that are important to your customer community and then refine tactics. Carol presented a client case study demonstrating value and loyalty in the collectible doll industry.

Five Pillars of Customer Loyalty by Carol Roth

  1. Product/Service Offering – Apple
  2. Customer Service – Nordstrom
  3. Community Affinity Groups – SOBCon
  4. Experiences – Disney
  5. Bridge Content Partnerships

Model 6: Innovation: Building on a Values-Based Value Proposition developed by and? LizStrauss, Co-Founder. SOBCon, Successful-Blog and presented by SOBCon

When Liz lost her voice, she became the event whisperer.

So, she wrote her presentation on a flipchart. Asking people from each table to line up to read each page, she turned the pages as the readers spoke. How brilliant and effective!

We ended the day without a closing mastermind session. Here are the questions left open to discuss:

What are you doing that you can’t build alone? What value baseline connects you to the people you want to serve? What is your values-based values proposition?

Your Turn: What kind of model is your team building?

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