Beverly Macy and Rodney Rumford put on a pretty good show at Harvard this week. There were some strong good presenters (though a few too many Powerpoint decks), no shortage of case studies, and some terrific opportunities to network. Here’s what I learned.
1. If you’re going to put on a conference, rent a facility at Harvard
It sounds really good to say “The Gravity Summit at Harvard,” even if Harvard has nothing to do with it. Helps get big names like MC Hammer and Gary Vaynerchuk to show up, and easier to get your boss to approve the cost of attending. Kudos on that one.
2. As soon as your company embraces social media, all of its fears and concerns go away
This was the key point of the EMC case study presented by Polly Pearson. We all encounter employers and clients who are still resistant. The EMC case, documenting the use of social media internally, showed how a multi-billion dollar was able to create community, encourage dialog, inspire new products, and learn by allowing criticism.
3. The very best presentations have no slides, no decks, and no video
Just great story telling. Of course Gary Vaynerchuk has one hell of a story to tell and he tells it better than anyone. And yes he was preceded by a bunch of folks with charts and graphs and lists and bullet points so he didn’t have to cover any of that, but he’s a reminder that you need to turn everything into an engaging story.
4. Not all famous people are full of themselves
MC Hammer is a case in point. Not only does the guy fly in, do his keynote and receive his applause, he actually gives two or three hours more of his time than he needs to give. He poses for pictures with anyone who wants one, walks a quarter mile to the other end of Harvard Square to a post-session tweetup, and hangs around just shooting the breeze. Pretty regular guy. My guess is the impression he left on a couple of hundred people will get magnified significantly when they all tell their followers.
Were you there? What did you get out of the recent Gravity Summit?