Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but the New Media Expo is an annual event that brings together bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers from all over the world. It’s a sizable swath of content creators, and they’re responsible for a lot of the great things you read, listen to and watch every day on the web.
As a first-timer, my perspective of the event is probably a little different than the veterans, so I’d like to share my experiences with other first-timers and my future self who’s trying to remember what it was like.
Don’t get left out…
There is a bit of the typical “in-crowd” feel to the event and being a first-timer, I was far from the in-crowd. However, there were a lot of other first-timers like me and they were all very eager to learn, share and network.
The keynotes were great, but my advice is, don’t be afraid to get up and walk out while they’re still talking or you may not get a seat in your most desired workshop. That happened to me on the first day.
At the top of my list for the event was seeing Pat Flynn present, which unfortunately didn’t happen because that was apparently at the top of everyone else’s list, too. I was one of the considerate audience members who hung around until the morning keynote finished, which left me standing outside Pat’s room, unable to see or hear.
Disappointed, head hanging low, I wandered over to see Michael Hyatt who did not disappoint. He gave a great workshop and he’s a great presenter. I already follow Pat and thanks to the fire hazard caused by his presentation, I now have another influencer to follow.
Take notes. Take lots of notes.
I now know what people mean when they say, “It felt like I was drinking from a fire hose.” The presenters are some of the greatest minds in the industry and they’re stacked end-to-end and even on top of each other. If you don’t take notes, you won’t remember everything you need to remember.
This advice is on three fronts. First, talk to everyone! I sat down at a lunch table with 4 people on my second day, and NO ONE WAS TALKING! I quickly took care of that situation by getting everyone to talk to each other. Take advantage of every situation to talk to anyone sitting or standing nearby. Most people come from far away. Don’t waste a single moment while you’re here.
If you come to the event with someone, don’t spend all your time talking to them. You can talk to them any time! I met a couple who was standing by themselves and they said they found it hard to talk to people. Of course they did! No one wants to interrupt a conversation and they don’t know you’re there together. Split up. Sit in different spots. Approach people together, but don’t wait on them to approach you.
Second, talk to the presenters. I waited around to talk to John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire and he agreed to do a podcast interview with me. I shook Scott Stratten’s hand. I spoke to Pat Flynn (even though I didn’t get to see him present…I’m going to be bitter about that for a while) and I spoke to the event co-founder, Rick Calvert. I even spoke to Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller!
Many of the presenters were sitting in the first-timer chairs…AT THE LAST EVENT! They’re sympathetic to your plight and willing to extend a helping hand, but only if you ask.
Third, get up to the microphone and ask questions. I walked up to at least 4 microphones while I was there, two of them were at keynotes with hundreds of people watching. What better way is there to announce your level of commitment? You get the stage for a minute or so and you get to talk directly to the who’s who of our industry. Embrace your heart pounding and the lump in your stomach and just walk to the mic (or the back of the line).
Signup for Meetups
Unless you want to miss out on amazing opportunities to rub elbows with the elite, signup for their Meetup events several days or weeks before you leave your home town. They post links to their events on their blogs and you can search on Meetup for NMX.
I didn’t know about this until I arrived, but that was too late and I spent several lonely nights in my hotel room when I could have been networking.
Some Constructive Feedback for NMX Organizers
Put popular presenters in bigger rooms. Pat’s first talk was seriously a fire hazard and even if I could have crammed myself in there, my fear of being trampled to death in case of fire would have kept me out.
Checkout the presenters a little better. I actually got up and walked out of a presentation, which I NEVER do. But when one of the presenters announced that one of his cohorts couldn’t make it because they drank too much the previous night and he was “hugging the porcelain god,” I’d had enough. That is unprofessional on SO many levels that I could write an entire blog post about it. In fact, maybe I will!
Allow another 5 minutes between presentations. 15 minutes isn’t enough time because most presentations ran long. I’m not complaining about that because most of them were so awesome. Maybe even a little more time for the presentations would be good. It felt like too much was being crammed in to too little time.
Marshall Sylver. Need I say more? I think I will. First off, I think the guy was very entertaining. I laughed my butt off during the hypnotism. His keynote, while entertaining, wasn’t really a keynote. It was a sales pitch. I can tell he has a lot of valuable insight to share, but I nearly through my shoulder out of its socket raising my hand to his questions. I’m the one with the questions, dang it! I wanted more answers! I know he paid a lot of money to be there, but his keynote didn’t really fit with the overall flavor of the event.
Finally, the NMX website. Where do I start? This may seem like common sense to most of us new media folks, but a login button on the website that takes me to my important info would be really helpful. I’m still not sure where to access the virtual ticket. I did a Google search and only found links to the benefits of paying for it.
The email system completely sucks. It’s like 1995 revisited. The subject line doesn’t default to anything and the cursor isn’t placed at the beginning of the email on replies. Some emails I received have new content at the bottom and it’s at the top on others. Even better would be the ability to reply directly to the email notification so I don’t have to visit the website to email people.
I was really surprised at how antiquated and un-user friendly the website was, considering that it represents a new media expo.
If you’ve never been to one of these events and you’re a blogger, podcaster or YouTuber, you absolutely have to go next year. No excuses. You’ll get FAR more out of it than it costs.
This business is about networking and connecting. In fact, EVERY business is about networking and connecting, and expos like this one are the best way to do it on a large scale over the course of only a few days.
Suck it up, buy the plane ticket, reserve your hotel room and get your butt to NMX 2015! I’ll see you there!