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We are a social media strategy, digital marketing consultancy, and communications company based in Nashville. Our goal is to teach you inbound marketing, social media best practices, and everything you need to succeed with content marketing including your blog, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other favorite social networking platforms.

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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Category: Events

NMX: Brighter than the Vegas Strip

Dave Delaney

2014 NMX New Media ExpoI just returned from a few days in Las Vegas at NMX, the New Media Expo. I was there to present on how to improve your networking efforts and make the most from NMX. It is absolutely remarkable when hundreds of people come together with similar interests that they are excited about. Everyone I met at NMX had one thing in common, they were downright pumped about social media. It was an energy brighter than the lights along the Vegas strip.

The secret to making the most from any event is to meet people you don't already know, catch up with the ones you do, and follow up after the event. Meeting your online friends offline (perhaps for the first time) is more magical than a Penn and Teller show. Did I mention Penn Jillette was a keynote at the conference?

Post Conference Follow Up Tips

The first step to following up is to scan the business cards you received. I always do this using the CardMunch app as I wait at my gate to depart. I love CardMunch, because the cards are transcribed and sent directly to my LinkedIn account.

I compose an event recap blog post on the flight home. I also draft an email to send to the amazing people I met during the conference. I make a point of asking to connect on LinkedIn. I find LinkedIn perfect for helping others, because I can easily search and introduce people. You may be reading this right now from said email.

Once I am home, I like to upload and share the photos and videos I shot at the conference. I usually do this on Facebook, but I share the photos on Flickr too. Reviewing photos also helps remind me of the people I met.

I recommend creating a Twitter List of your new and old friends from the conference. I do this by reviewing all of the tweets, replies, retweets, and direct messages pertaining to NMX. I can easily return to that list to check in and to keep in touch. This is especially handy as NMX 2015 draws near.

A conference like no other

NMX is a conference unlike any other. It draws hundreds of energetic people who sincerely love new media together in an intimate setting. This is a collection of old school geeks (myself included) and young people who are craving to learn and share their knowledge.

As a veteran podcaster (my first show ran from 2005 - 2008), it is exciting to see the reemergence of the medium. Many people I met had podcasts or were just getting started. Are you? Leave a comment here please. I would love to check out your show.

My presentation was titled, You’re Nowhere Without Your Network: The True ROI of NMX. My main goal was to get the audience energized and equipped to make the most of their time at the conference. Were you at my session? What did you think?

One message of my presentation was to encourage people to create events in order to meet and connect with others. I did this at NMX by organizing a Geek Breakfast with Jared Easley. I was pleasantly surprised to see fifty smiling people at 7:45 am. I was a little nervous because it was the second morning of the conference... in Las Vegas, where few people get adequate sleep. I sincerely want to thank everyone who attended (I hope to see you in the Facebook group).

NMX was fantastic. I am so thankful to Rick Calvert, his team of volunteers, organizers, sponsors, and my fellow speakers. Thank you for having me. I am also thankful to the many people I met and got to see once again. If you have a love for new media, blogging, podcasting, social networking, and all things online, you should add NMX to your list of must attend conferences for 2015.

Were you at NMX? What was your favorite thing about the conference? Leave a comment and let's keep in touch please.

Join me at NMX

Dave Delaney

vegas To say I'm excited to attend Blog World NMX on January 4th would be an understatement. There are few conferences that feel like summer camp where I catch up with old friends and make new ones. NMX is an opportunity for social media professionals and hobbyists to connect and learn from one another.

Readers of New Business Networking will be familiar with the PNME (Podcast New Media Expo) conference in 2007. This inspiring conference brought together people I wanted to meet - bloggers, podcasters, and geeks of all shapes and sizes. We all gathered to celebrate new media technology in Ontario, California. Over the years, the conference morphed into NMX and moved to Las Vegas.

Don't Miss This

I will be presenting You're Nowhere Without Your Network: The True ROI of NMX. If you plan to attend the conference, I urge you not to miss my presentation. I will share tips and techniques on how to get the most from your time in Las Vegas.

I am also organizing a casual networking event called NMX New Business Networking Geek Breakfast. We have limited space, but I do hope you are able to grab a seat. It will be an informal meet up of fellow technology fans. There is no agenda, just good conversation with great people. The conversations may lead to new clients, promotional partners, investors, co-founders, jobs, or better yet - new friends. I hope to see you there. RSVP here.

If you're still on the fence about attending NMX,  you can save 20% using the code "NMX14" (affiliate link).

What are you waiting for? Will I see you in Las Vegas?

Meet Your Friends Offline

Dave Delaney

Photo by Nicola CorboyThe Internet is a powerful place. We meet like-minded people from all across this wonderful world. We socialize with our new friends via an array of different social networking sites, and these relationships grow stronger as we invest time in them.

This is a magical experience to me, and one that becomes even better when I meet my online friends offline, “in real life”.

In my book, New Business Networking, I write about some of my personal experiences with meeting online friends in person and what transpired. There is something special about that moment when you reach out and shake their hand, give them a high-five, or even better, a hug.

I have often met many of my online friends in person at conferences like South by Southwest or Consumer Electronics Show, but not everybody has a budget for attending such events. This shouldn’t stop you though.

The truth is, you are probably conversing online with many people who reside in your city. Our hometowns provide countless topics for discussion and debate, so it is only natural that you meet other locals. Can you find a way to invite these people to meet in person? Forget what your parents said; you must talk to strangers.

Why not organize a tweet up with your Twitter friends (and their friends)? Use Meetup.com to create a casual meet up with your online pals. Facebook has Events. You get the idea.

Here is Your Homework

Do a little digging for local events worth attending to meet the people you converse with online. If an event doesn’t exist, plan one and invite them. Don’t charge a fee to attend, and include a cash bar. It’s dead simple to do this. I created Geek Breakfast, which now has chapters across the US, Australia, South Africa, and in Canada on this very model. You can do this too.

We meet people in person to build stronger relationships, which may lead to business opportunities down the road. Not only can these lead to more such opportunities, but they can also result in new friendships.

Leave a comment with the event you are planning (or planning to attend) and the city you reside in. Who knows, maybe fellow Owner readers from your town will see this and connect with you in person too.

Do it. You will be glad you did.

Photo by Nicola Corboy


This post originally appeared in Owner Magazine.

How to Plan Local Events

Dave Delaney

Photo by Drew MaughanSeveral years ago during BarCamp Nashville, a large, technology unconference, an issue came up about the many technology events taking place in the city. The community was growing quickly, and it seemed like a new meet up was occurring daily. It was becoming difficult to keep up. Not having a listing of all events was problematic for attendees, because there was no way to see everything in one place. It was easy to miss an event simply by not knowing it existed or when it was scheduled for.

Another issue was for the organizers. These folks (myself included) were unknowingly scheduling events that conflicted with other similar events. It was a mess.

A Simple Solution 

The solution was a simple one, and it’s still used today.

The Nashville Technology Calendar, powered by a simple Google Calendar.

Event organizers are encouraged to contribute to the calendar by adding their events. This gives everyone a simple way to see everything taking place in the coming days, weeks and months. Like Apple’s iCal, a Google Calendar can be subscribed to, making it easy to keep track of what’s coming up.

New solutions to keep track of local events have come up since the calendar’s inception in 2009. The slick WannaDo app, which I expect will expand beyond Nashville in the coming months is a great example of this. It’s an app that you can add events to and socially share the ones you plan to attend.

A simple Google Calendar can help you keep track of what’s happening in your city. I even use one to keep track of my life.

How do you keep track of the events in your city? Are you an organizer? How do you avoid conflicting with other events? Leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have come up with too.

Photo by Drew Maughan


This post originally appeared in Owner Magazine.

Conference networking should focus on quality, not quantity

Dave Delaney

I recently returned home to Nashville from speaking at BOLO in Scottsdale, Arizona. During my time there, I was reminded of the importance of actively networking, but doing so in an honest, sincere and slow way. BoloBingEvent2013_-133

If you attend conferences by rushing around trying to meet as many people as you can so you can collect as many business cards as you can, you are doing it wrong.  Effective business networking is about quality over quantity. Take the time to get to know people.

[Tweet "Effective business networking is about quality over quantity."]

Attend the presentations with topics that most interest you. Spend the coffee break after the presentation to introduce yourself to a fellow attendee. Ask the person what he or she thought of the presenter and presentation. The best thing about smaller conferences is that most people have a shared experience. You can bet the person you approach will have an opinion on the session you both watched. Talking about a presentation is the perfect icebreaker; take it slow and listen to what other people tell you.

Plan the presentations you most want to see, but remember that spontaneity can also lead to great relationships. If you connect with a person, why not skip the next presentation and use it to continue talking? Or invite a small group of people you meet to a lunch at a local restaurant? I experienced this firsthand at BOLO, and it was a highlight of my time in Scottsdale.

The following are 10 more tips for effective conference networking. Try to put these to use the next time you are attending an event.

1. Arrive early and stand near the entrance, bar or food table. This is where people congregate.

2. Practice your elevator pitch before attending. Who are you? What do you do? Why are you attending?

3. Actively listen to their answers. Use eye contact and body language to show you are listening.

4. Take notes on the person’s business card about your conversation to refer to later. Can you help him or her?

5. Talk to strangers. Forget what your parents taught you.

6. Be more interested in other people than yourself.

7. Use the person’s first name several times as you are speaking to help remember it.

8. Bring mints and gum to keep your breath fresh.

9. Drink plenty of water and go easy on the alcohol.

10. Follow up with each person you meet after the conference. Staying in touch is a crucial part of networking at conferences.


This article, “Conference networking should focus on quality, not quantity”, originally appeared in the Tennessean.

Photo from BOLO / IseBox

Blown away by BOLO

Dave Delaney

BOLO Conference 2013 I honestly didn't know what to expect by attending and speaking at the BOLO Conference. I have never worked in the advertising industry, and BOLO is very much a conference for agency owners, staff, and vendors. Held at the groovy, retro, Hotel Valley Ho, in Scottsdale, AZ., BOLO was one of my favorite conferences I have attended. I am honored to have been included as a speaker and very much have Jay Baer, Bret Giles and Tyler Farnsworth to thank. Thank you gents.

The energy of the conference was driven by its stellar group of attendees and speakers. The main themes I took away were not only specific to the advertising industry, they were applicable to life. Simplicity, community, creativity, originality, and mobility are terms that spring to my mind when I reflect on the great content the presenters provided.

Each speaker brought his or her own stories, opinions, and smarts, which left attendees excited and inspired. Sponsors tastefully presented their wears and supported the meals and parties. I especially enjoyed Bing's bash and the The Bumbys, who provided their "fair and honest appraisals of (y)our appearance."

#BOLO2013 ConferenceThe True Value

The true value of a conference is the grouping of unique people and providing them with the ability to connect with one another. Meeting people occurs during timely breaks, parties, meals, and allocated networking activities. BOLO did a perfect job providing this which I sincerely appreciate.

By scheduling a good mix of talented speakers, attendees are left with topics to discuss between and after presentations. It's difficult for me to pick favorites, because I was blown away by each presenter. I was equally impressed by the amazing people I met, some I now call good friends.

One reason why I love Twitter is the ability to review who I tweeted with and retweeted during a conference. After BOLO, I reviewed my tweets and created a private list of my favorite people I met. By doing this, I can now return to my BOLO Friends list to keep up to date with what they are up to. I have a post here with more tips on using Twitter lists.

A great conference is like summer camp. It is well organized and superbly executed. It carefully selects it's people (staff, sponsors, speakers, and attendees) to ensure the experience is flawless. It makes you sad when it comes to an end, but excited for next year. It leaves you with new, long-lasting friendships. BOLO did all of the above.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to Susan Baier, who was kind enough to take a group of us out for lunch. It was a generous gesture by an incredibly sweet and smart woman who I am happy to now call a friend, follow her on Twitter @susanbaier.

Did we meet at BOLO? What did you think of the conference?

Rock on with these five marketing tips

Dave Delaney

Americana Music Festival UPDATE 2014: I'm speaking this year on the importance of networking. Don't miss my presentation. Follow http://sched.co/1uojcG8 for details. I had the good fortune of being asked to return to the Americana Music Festival last week to lead a panel on marketing for musicians. Thanks to Wayne Leeloy for the invitation.

I shared the stage with Charles Alexander, founder and CEO of Outside the Box Music; Dara Carson, a digital marketing strategy consultant; Brian Schopfel, co-founder of Eyes & Ears Entertainment; and Ashley Mixson, executive director at Girlilla Marketing; all of whom are brilliant music industry professionals.

Our group was lucky to have an engaged audience who asked plenty of thought-provoking questions. Reflecting on our panel, I recall five key take­aways we provided. Consider these for your own business, even if you are not an aspiring rock star.

1. Be authentic

Be genuine and you will exude trust to the people you meet.

This is effective in everything we do, from job interviews and sales calls to networking at conferences and growing audiences.

2. Build your tribe

The tribes concept was illustrated well in Seth Godin’s book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

In it, he makes the argument that we all are part of groups seeking leaders. You should be the leader. If you are a lead singer of a band, you lead your fans.

Many successful businesses have a person who represents their brand and leads their customers, like RavenTools’ community manager Courtney Seiter. Good leaders build tribes.

3. Focus on geographics

Who doesn’t want to be a global superstar? Who doesn’t want their products or services to reach an international customer base?

Focus on earning a local reputation. Build a solid local following before embarking on the world tour.

4. Reward your fans

In music marketing, rewarding your fans can include sending the subscribers of your email newsletter free music downloads or giving away CDs and T-shirts at concerts.

Maybe your top fans can win a free house concert. We can reward our top customers by giving them free products, coupon codes, giveaways to enter, and buying them a couple of drinks at a local meet up.

Your company can even sponsor an event or organization that directly helps your core customers. Even a simple shoutout is appreciated. Recognition goes a long way.

5. Think quality over quantity

In my book, New Business Networking, I stress that you should strive for quality over quantity when growing your network. It is better to have a smaller group of engaged Twitter followers or Facebook fans than to have thousands who are uninvolved.

Take these five points and consider how you are marketing yourself, your business, or your band.

Nothing happens overnight, so take the time to plan and focus on your marketing efforts. Keep on rocking in the free world.

Please leave your own tip in the comments.


This article, "Rock on with these marketing tips from music gurus", originally appeared in the Tennesseean.

Break the Ice and Listen Better

Dave Delaney

Photo by Jay MorrisonThe following is my second article on business networking in the Tennessean newspaper. You can find the original published on September 12th on their site. Thanks for reading this and sharing it with your friends. I enjoyed a mixer event this week put on by NAMA, the Nashville Chapter of the North American Marketing Association. (Full disclosure: I am a board member.) The event was a fun opportunity to mix with marketers from the Greater Nashville area. It also inspired this article.

I am often intrigued by listening to the conversations occurring around me at different events. Small talk is not as easy in practice as you may think.

Here are two words you should focus on before your next networking event: FORD and LISTEN.

F.O.R.D.

FORD is an acronym that stands for family, occupation, recreation and dreams. If you are looking for an ice-breaker, look no further than these four words. Choose one to ask someone about and it will surely lead you into an interesting conversation.

L.I.S.T.E.N.

The second acronym is LISTEN. This stands for look interested, involve yourself by responding, stay on target, test your understanding, evaluate the message and neutralize the feelings.

When you ask the person you meet a question, you must look interested in their reply. Look them in their eyes (don’t stare) and truly listen to what they are telling you. Involve yourself by smiling, nodding and responding. Add short interjections such as “I see,” “go on” and “interesting.” Add a follow-up question such as, “What did you do next?” or “How did that make you feel?”

Stay on target by not allowing yourself to be distracted during a conversation. Do this by picturing the speaker as the only person in the room. Do your best not to look away, at your watch or phone, or over their shoulder as they are speaking to you.

Test your understanding by repeating what the person has told you in a conversational manner: “So what you are saying is,” and “So if I understand correctly you are ...” These are helpful phrases to begin with.

Evaluate what the person has said. Take a moment to consider the information you have received. Think about how you can follow up to assist this person.

Can you make an introduction for them to one of your LinkedIn contacts? Should you email them tomorrow to invite them for a coffee so you can learn more about their needs?

It can happen. We can meet someone who rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps they have given you incorrect information that you know to be untrue. Neutralize your feelings. Don’t put them on the spot by correcting them. This can make the person uncomfortable. Instead, you can thank them for their time, shake their hand and move on to a new conversation.

Networking shouldn’t feel like work. By asking great conversation-starting questions and listening effectively, you will become a better networker. I go into great detail about these topics and more in my book, New Business Networking, but I hope this article leaves you inspired to attend a local event and meet new people soon.

The final note I want to leave you with is to remember to follow up. You should always send an email to tell the person you enjoyed meeting them. Consider the next step in the email, is there a way you can help them? You should also include a LinkedIn connection request to grow your professional network.

More on LinkedIn here. Now get out there and meet some people.

How do you break the ice when you meet new people?

Photo by Jay Morrison


The article, "Make the most of your next mixer", originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper.

Keen to Win Passes?

Dave Delaney

KEEN Digital Summit UPDATE: Giveaway Closed.

Congratulations to Jessica Peoples who won the passes! 

The KEEN Digital Summit is an impressive conference coming to Nashville  from October 24 - 27. I have one pair of passes to the conference for one lucky winner and their friend worth $600!

KEEN Digital Summit draws from the top digital entrepreneurs, leaders, founders and innovators, bringing all under one roof  in a three-day B2B and B2C event and expo. I will be presenting on effective new networking tips, tools and more. I hope to see you.

Join social influencers, journalists, editors, developers, start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 brands. We will all gather to network, collaborate, and learn about innovative technologies and new platforms in the areas of travel, technology, food and spirits, and family. It's going to be great!

Enter to Win

You're three steps away from entering to win passes for KEEN. Good luck!

  1. Log in to Twitter.
  2. Click this link and do not edit the tweet.
  3. Follow @davedelaney and @KEENsummit on Twitter. I will contact the winner by direct message.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced after 12 PM CDT on Friday, September 13th.

Can't wait? Didn't win? Buy a ticket today.

 

Rules: Entrants must be 18 years old or older. Prize includes one (1) pair of passes to Keen Digital Summit from October 24 - 27, 2013. Entrants acknowledge that transportation and accommodation, if applicable, is not included in the prize and that any events beyond our control make this giveaway subject to being rescheduled, modified or cancelled. In that event, we reserve the right to, at our discretion, reschedule the giveaway, entry and/or end dates, modify the entry procedures, cancel the giveaway, or cancel the awarding of passes. Prize(s) are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. Giveaway open from Aug 30th - Sept 13th, 2013. One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the submitted tweets as directed above after 12 PM (CDT), Friday September 13, 2013. Prize is non-transferable and non-refundable. Winner will have 48 hours from announcement via Twitter to reply or an alternative winner shall be randomly selected. Good luck. 

75 Tips for Better Event Networking

Dave Delaney

[hupso]Since writing New Business Networking, I have received requests for suggestions to improve business networking efforts. I often get requests specifically for tips for attending events. I decided to take some time with pen and paper to see how many tips I could come up with for you.

The following are 75 tips for better event networking. Each tip in the free downloadable PDF is a tweetable link. Click it, and you can share it with your friends. If you're planning to attend an event, mixer, trade show, or conference soon, make the most of the opportunity by following these tips.

FREE DOWNLOAD:  75 Tips for Better Event Networking