You’re Not Speaking At A Conference…How Can You Add Value And Build Your Reputation?

by Reid on February 20, 2021

You’re Not Speaking At A Conference…How Can You Add Value And Build Your Reputation?





Reid: There you go.

Cathy: Are we live?

Reid: I think we are live. We are live from the stoop of Cathy Vartuli’s secret lair somewhere in San Jose. I’m Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: And you go to conferences

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: You go, you go to sex education conferences but you also go to scientific conferences as well

Cathy: Yes

Reid: because you’re quite a scientist so I’m curious if this advice that we’re talking about today actually applies to sciency conferences as well.

Cathy: A lot of it does.

Reid: We’ll find out

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: So we’re in San Jose, where are you? Where are you oh faithful viewers, listeners? Leave a comment and then let us know what you think about these

Cathy: Hi Dixie!

Reid: these, these bits of advice. So where do we start?

Cathy: So we’ve done a couple of videos on what…how do you participate and add value at a conference if you were presenting, we want also wanted to do one on what…how you can add value and also build your reputation if you were attending not, not necessarily presenting but you can still how can you

Reid: so if you’re not a speaker

Cathy: Yeah, if you’re not a speaker.

Reid: Okay

Cathy: My cat is going crazy too

Reid: Your cat doesn’t go to conferences

Cathy: maybe she’s jealous

Reid: maybe your cat has to go to conferences and just tell you

Cathy: possibly the catnip conference

Reid: Ooh, wow.

Cathy: So, I’m going to steal a little bit from Reid’s relationship advice

Reid: You steal all my stuff

Cathy: I

Reid: Give…give them some of your advice.

Cathy: I’m going to but I’m going to start with you.

Reid: Okay start with stealing from me. Good, I’ll wait. Look at them they’re watching.

Cathy: I’m retrieving to you but I’m going to translate it for, for this. One of the things you can decide is why you’re like what’s your intention why are you going to a conference. Reid asks “Why are you going to be in a relationship? What do you want out of it?” So if you know what you want out of a conference, that can really help you focus your energies. So are you going just to learn something new, hear different voices, are you going to network or build your reputation or find people to collaborate with or maybe present at a conference next year with some of those people so if you tune in to that it can really help you focus your time and energy and one really good rule of thumb is that you don’t have to go to every talk. I used to think I had to or like run from one room to the next trying to get all the information and I would just be so stressed and worn out at the end. It’s okay to pick and choose, ask other people who’s a good speaker, go to the ones that really interest you. I sometimes sit near the back if I only have a few minutes and hear what I can or if it’s not resonating with me I’ll slip out quietly and go to another, another talk and trying to be really respectful because it takes a lot of courage to stand up there in front of people and share your stuff.

Reid: Sit in the back?

Cathy: Yeah but if…if you know if something doesn’t resonate for you or it’s not adding value or you already know it, it’s worthwhile going to someplace else and using it using that time. And I also like to I like to add value in terms of like if I’m trying to learn something, I’ve want to sometimes retweeting or social doing social media can help boost the signal for the conference and the people to speak that are speaking but it also helps me anchor what I said rather than taking notes in a [Inaudible 00:03:10] does this all the time rather than taking notes in a in a notebook, she just tweets her tweets at her audience and then she has a

Reid: Se tweets her own notes?

Cathy: She had tweets her own notes with the attribution for the speakers and that anchors that for her. I have some more but why don’t you go ahead and share some

Reid: There are some people that do Storify things where they’ll take the tweets and put them together, assemble them together after an event or even just a digital event like sex talk Tuesday we’ll do Storify social media afterward so you can kind of review. There’s…I mean that would be the main tip that you could use at almost any conference, you can if the conference itself doesn’t have a hashtag for that specific talk, you could ask if there is a hashtag so that then everybody who’s live-tweeting could be creating the using the same hashtag so you could be able to pull everything. Again, for Storify a lot of times you’re, you’re creating value on site and then there’s…there’s value that last beyond the event so when you come home you could still over the next couple of weeks retweet things from the conference

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: and keep the conversation going that would be another way to add value like those are the big ones. Other things is you can just go and you can compliment or acknowledge

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: or appreciate the actual speakers the things that were important, you can talk to them after, stop them in the hallway, you can give them a compliment or thank you. Sometimes directly after they speak can be a little bit tricky because they may be swapping out the room for other people and then there’s always three or four people up there waiting to begin with so you know things that you can do to help move the conference along and…and acknowledge the speakers later or even acknowledge the organizers and tell them things that you liked about the event, during the event filling out the surveys and stuff if they have them, after the event is really helpful too so that they can get information about what worked and what didn’t those are other ways you can add value.

Cathy: Yeah and it’s also, it’s really important if you feel if you appreciate something to tell people because I think a lot of a lot of people don’t realize how if they’re making a difference. In, in the sex geek world people are being really vulnerable and talking about difficult conversations and just saying “Hey that really touched me” or whatever is true for you can make a difference for people and help them feel filled up. I also like looking for other participants you know sometimes if I’m presenting a lot, I don’t have a lot of time but if I do I try to look for someone who feels, who might be new or feeling a little bit shy and not sure how to be included and invite them for coffee or invite them to join a group I’m in. I love how you always invite people to come like someone who’s nearby when you’re taking a group selfie you’re like “Come join us” and they sometimes it’s the little things that could help someone who’s new or shy feel really included and valued that can make a huge difference in them especially it’s kind of intimidating the first time you go to a conference like you don’t know who anybody is, you don’t know where anything is, you don’t know who to say hi to and everyone else is like “Oh my god it’s so great to see you!”

Reid: Yeah

Cathy: “Remember last year” and so just reaching out and including people that can make a huge difference the next year they might be like “Oh my god, I remember you. You were so kind to me” or you might find out they’re a world’s expert on something and you’re like “Hey, let’s do a conference together or a talk together or something.” One other sneaky trip trick I do and I tell people I’m doing this is if I missed a talk that I really wanted to hear or there’s a topic let’s say they’re talking about something they don’t have time to go in-depth on something, I’ll ask them to do a YouTube video. I’ll say, well I sometimes ask them right at the conference “Well, was it was it warm?” And then follow up and schedule afterward and ask them to do talk a little bit more on the topic so and I’ll even tell them “Hey, I’m so sorry I missed your talk. I really wanted to know would you be willing to talk about this and share it with my audience.” And then just follow up and get it out there so you get to learn more, you build a relationship, people tend to remember you if you do a video with them.

Reid: That’s good.

Cathy: And then you get the questions answered which is really fun.

Reid: Nice.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: Sneaky and then you get cont…content for your YouTube channel

Cathy: Yeah and after our social lunch and stuff ask people, invite people. A lot of a lot of people are shy asking someone they don’t know to go to lunch or coffee but ask around if that’s something you like to do if you know if you if your self-care needs are to go and hide in your room in order room service I sometimes do that and it’s really fun but you know just taking care of yourself and…and Oh hey Dawn! Dawn said hi.

Reid: Hi Dawn!

Cathy: Yeah so like

Reid: I can’t believe you can see that.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: I know there’s a phone there

Cathy: but inviting people like I used to always I’m really shy and I always figured that people knew that I wanted to be included and most people have no clue if you’re just sitting there quietly, they think you’ve got it up either all together or you, you know they don’t know I don’t know what they’re thinking but I just started asking people “Hey, I want to go to lunch or do you want to go to dinner?” And even if they say no if they’ve made the, the overture and they might ask you later or just remember you and that’s building relationships is a big part of why I go to conferences.

Reid: So if you’re shy or awkward just go see Cathy for lunch.

Cathy: Thank you.

Reid: You’re welcome, right? Right?

Cathy: Well you can definitely ask.

Reid: You could also declare you could ask if it’s appropriate to do you know like a lunch that’s specifically for you know sex workers or specifically for shy people or you know people that are doing sex toy reviews or something like that like

Cathy: They can add value that way

Reid: you think you could you could try to create like a little meetup or something like that. Some conferences will already have those going on so you can ask and…and if anyone’s you know doing some sort of you know lunch for such-and-such or breakfast get-together for such-and-such and again like you know if you’re shy that might not be your gig to you know announce that that’s going to be going on but if you ask you know ask the organizer if something like that is available

Cathy: Or if you could create it

Reid: or if they could you know help you team, team you up with somebody to put something like together like that could also add value for, for those kinds of things and you know like if only two people show up like that’s not a failure by any means.

Cathy: Yeah. Annie I’d love to go to lunch next time we’re at a con. Thanks for the invitation and I, I also like to tell the organizer if I have time and bandwidth for it is you know “If you need something just let me know” because sometimes they get overwhelmed and if they know that they could say “Hey you, can you help me with this thing?” And if you’re willing to help when I’m because I’m shy if I’m helping, I’m much less shy I feel like I’m contributing so you know find your own sweet spots and what you need and offer that.

Reid: Yeah, maybe volunteering is your…is your gig or, or helping with something you know so that you feel like you, you can connect with other people maybe just being like you don’t want to volunteer but you’re coming in a day early anyway or you live in that area. Do you need help with stuffing welcome bags or something like that or you know whatever, I mean it’s….it’s more about being creative and figuring out that that there are things that you can do to make a conference more awesome for everyone even for you as an attendee.

Cathy: Yeah. So we hope this helps. Conferences are amazing place to get to connect with other people, learn new things, hear things you might not have heard into that certain way so we hope this helps, you go and meet new people, make some great friends and maybe next year you’ll have your, your presentation up there and we’ll all be watching you.

Reid: There you go, awesome and we’re trying out a new tripod that Cathy has for the phone which is if you’re wondering like “What’s…why is the phone so steady?” There’s a tripod from MeFOTO with an F and I’ll drop the link in the description because it’s a pretty, pretty sexy little tripod.

Cathy: It’s travel side type.

Reid: It’s very nice.

Cathy: Do you want to show them? Do you want to take it out and show them?

Reid: No, they can….we can put the link in. It’ll be great.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: It’ll be awesome. Awesome. Bye, everyone.

Cathy: Bye everyone.

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