You're at the first day of a
conference. A little nervous. But immersed and determined to let's do this.
You leave your room in search of morning coffee. You bump into familiar faces in the elevator—wearing your same expression of uncertain hope.
You choose your morning activities—mindfulness? A fun run? A photo walk? A noodle necklace in the arts and crafts cabin?
Haha just kidding on that last part.
But not kidding on how the best in-person events feel summer camp. Awkward to start. Then an intense, short period that feels both like an alternate universe and also realer than real life.
You choose your own adventure of sessions or workshops. Lunch. Drinks. Snacks. More adventures. Social hour. You can recommend the pierogi. After-dark, the hotel bar is LIT.
Sub in a tent for a hotel room.
Counselors for speakers.
Campers for attendees.
A campfire for a bar.
That was last week's MarketingProfs B2B Forum—in person for the first time in three years.
* * *
Listen, it's weird going to conferences in 2022.
Covid is still a threat. We're all tired of it. But it's a reality. You can attend safely. But it's still a little black cloud hovering in the room, threatening a downpour.
People are a little nervous and jumpy at All The Socializing. We're out of practice.
A few people told me later how they had to take People Breaks in their rooms—literally, breaks from too much peopling. (Is peopling
a verb? Is now.)
Speaker Katie Robbert lives locally and actually went home for a mental break.
"I'm not sure how
to be," one counselor-speaker friend told me prior to the start.
Notice: Not how to "act."
Not how to "network."
to balance a potato pierogi and a beer at the cocktail hour without dumping the whole thing on the floor."
Just... how to be.
Selling tickets is a slog. For all you event marketers out
there... it's not just you.
Some people are hesitant to travel for business—even though leisure travel is up. (Weird, true.)
Many corporate travel budgets have been cut.
Even hybrid can work against you: I heard last week that if an event offers a virtual option... some companies require staff to attend virtually and not in-person. (No matter if the attendee wants to come try the cabbage
pierogi even if she's never liked cabbage?)
One of the signs in the hallway at
MarketingProfs last week read:
"You can't make new friends at a webinar."
* * *
There is nothing like camp.
temporarily shed home and family and (some) responsibilities.
We can show up however we please, reinventing ourselves in tiny ways. ("I've decided to be outgoing," one attendee told me in Boston last week. Decided.)
We can sit around the campfire (bar) and sing (chat) with counselors (speakers) and then at the end of the day close the flap (door) or our tent (hotel) room knowing that we'll see the same campers (attendees) tomorrow.
I forgot how much valuable it is—personally, professionally. (The hallway convos were GOLD.)
I forgot how fun that is.
I also forgot how there's a difference between Stand Up pants and Sit Down pants. I wore Stand Up pants one day—and when I dropped my pen on the floor, I had to ask Ashley to pick it up for me lol.
* * *
My advice to you:
Plan to get in your car or step into a plane to attend at least one in-person event in the next 12 months.
Once there, immerse yourself fully. (As much as you can. Breaks are okay. You've been living with yourself long enough to know what you need.)
Step out of your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone is your dead zone.
It'll be worth it. I promise.
* * *
EVERYBODY WRITES 2 WRITING TIP OF THE
"I'm farting carrots!" my then 6-year-old neighbor shout-sang as she rode her bike in a tight circle on her driveway.
"Should I tell her that the song lyric is actually I'm 14-carat?" I wondered as I walked by with my dog.
is from Selena Gomez's "Good for You." (Go listen: It's right at the beginning.)
"Farting carrots" is a mondegreen—a term for when we mishear or
misinterpret a word or phrase.
A subcategory of a mondegreen is an eggcorn—a mutated phrase that actually makes sense. (Like "butt naked" for "buck naked.")
They're funny, those eggcorns. And I see them more than you'd imagine in Marketing writing. Let's look at a few!
Eggcorn > is actually > this
For all intensive purposes > For all intents and purposes
Nip it in the butt > Nip it in the bud
Bad wrap > Bad rap
Upmost > Utmost
Deep-seeded > Deep-seated
Escape goat > scapegoat
Are you now picturing goats on the lam? Me, too.
Anyway... you can
wander through acres of eggcorns at The Eggcorn Database.
Oh... I didn't tell my little friend that Selena wasn't
actually farting carrots. I just waved and kept walking. Why ruin it... you know?
NEW THIS WEEK