The Real Time Summit wasn’t just a marketing conference; it was an experience.
An experience of collaboration, inspiration, people, and it’s kicking off a passionate and supportive community that will live on.
Location: Chattanooga, TN
A major reason for The Real Time Summit’s success was its location. Chattanooga is a fantastic place to have an event. It’s a charming city with character and warmth that makes it easy to connect outside of the event. Wherein a bigger city, it’s so easy to disappear.
I met about ten people for the first time (ever) the night before the event, and in no time, we were side-by-side singing karaoke. Locals were asking if we were lifelong friends – and it wasn’t because of the way we harmonized, trust me. (I, of course, wanted to sing some Meat Loaf. Paradise by The Dashboard Light Anyone? No?)
Speakers: Not Just about Business
The event wasn’t all business, it also focused on the human connection. Many speakers showed the power of social media has to make an impact on human lives. I left feeling inspired and even cried twice during two separate talks. We heard about helping less-fortunate children around the world and supporting a town after a natural disaster.
Whoever thought a marketing event could make anyone cry tears of joy?
Of course there was a who’s-who of business leaders educating and inspiring. Leaders in sports (Tina (Miller) Lloyd), news (Joshua Chavers), entertainment (Alissa Gwynn), technology (Nick Cicero), and many other areas of business. They too felt and projected a sense of genuine passion and excitement. Enough where I felt as if I was on stage with everyone – not just a audience member.
On a personal note, I had the honor of closing out the show as a keynote speaker, and it was a privilege to share the stage with that many fantastic people. For those that know me personally, you know I joke that “I sold cookies for a living.” I thought to myself, “how can I share a stage with someone who is helping bring families together across the world?!” I can only hope that my experience and thoughts could help those people the same way it supports businesses.
The Takeaway and What’s Next::
The Social Lion crew (Clark Campbell, Shibu Joseph, and so on), Jeramie McPeek, and many others behind the show never lost sight of focusing on humans-first experience.
- Drove as many people to and from the airport as they could
- Hired people they knew and respected to work the event
- Was an ever-present, supportive team that found time for you if you needed it
- Didn’t disappear after the event
- Cared for everyone as a human, not as business
I now have a large number of people I call friends, I know it’s the same for others, and lots of amazing stories and work will come out of these friendships.
Social Lion also plans on extending their community online, and the 2019 event is already being planned.
For more on how this community is growing, follow the Real Time Summit on Facebook, and remember, if you focus on people above all else, your marketing conference will be more than just another event.
Also published on Medium.