So Anna Kendrick and 19,000 marketers walk into a room… No I’m actually not kidding. It seems unbelievable, but there I was, a single number amongst the largest group of creatives I had ever seen. Welcome to #INBOUND16.
Think bold, think high-tech, think millennial, think INBOUND. It was my first week on the job with Web Canopy Studio and I was lucky enough to get the chance to tag along with the team as they made their way to Boston for one of the largest marketing conferences in the world. Talk about an exciting “welcome to the team!” I was anxious, I was excited, but more importantly, I was motivated.
The event was a solid 3.5 days of innovation. Each day was filled with new breakout sessions available for attendees to watch, listen and engage (so much information, so little time). The amount of knowledge crammed into my brain was intense. There was a constant flow of passionate ideas throughout the conference and I was there to take it all in.
Leadership, branding and success. These are the kinds of conversations that get my gears rolling - I know, I’m such a marketer, but here was a positive sense of transparency between the speakers and listeners alike. Each company, leader and influencer wanted to give us a taste of their 'secret sauce'. Catching my drift? There was no B.S. at Inbound. I loved that and I was able to learn because of that. Everyone was there for the exact same reason: to grow and to help others grow. We basked in each other's successes, and I feel I'm a better worker because of it.
So, here's a little dose of transparency.
The top 10 knowledgeable gains I made at #INBOUND16:
1. Tell your story. Yes, this is heavily brand oriented, but there's an underlying message here. Be straightforward, honest and trustworthy. You want your brand to read this way, but you should want to follow this on a personal level too. (Tiffany Sauder, CEO, Element Three).
2. Be HUMAN. Being around technology can turn people into saturated robots. Use contractions! "You'll" sounds more natural than "you will". C'mon, talk like a normal person. (Beth Dunn, Product Editor-in-Chief, HubSpot).
3. Be kind. Ain’t nobody got time for an egotistical asshole. In the words of Anna Kendrick, “You can be a good person, and not be the nicest person in the room.” #Nailedit.
4. Prepare to conform. Oh, so you want to be a “stand out” hipster - seems a little contradictory, right? (No judgements). We're all wired to conform. Conformity is the norm, not the exception. Don’t be afraid, be aware. (Bob Gower, Organization and Design Consultant at The Ready, Principal at Bob Gower Consulting).
5. Get rejected...often. Just like winter, rejection is coming, but there is always an aftereffect that follows. Don’t let rejection define you; let your actions AFTER rejection define you. “The high road is a lonely place, but it’s the best way to get to where you’re goin’.” -Constance Schwartz, Inbound 2016 Spotlight speaker (& Wiz Kalifa’s manager, HOLLA).
6. Never give up. Cliché, I know. But when Serena Williams says it, you listen. “Never stop trying. The minute you stop is when you give up on yourself.” YAS QWEEN.
7. Be a farmer. Ok, not literally. More like: be an agile leader. Do your duty and nurture your employees/co-workers/people, then watch your influence grow. “As a leader we need to not only be managers, but also doers.” -Bob Gower
8. Be humble.
“Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less.” - C.S. Lewis. DEEP.
No guys, C.S. Lewis didn't actually speak at Inbound (for obvious reasons... R.I.P), but this quote was thrown out there during a breakout session. In a world that is so "me! me! me!", take a step back and consider the people around you. It's almost too easy to come across as self-centered, let's avoid that. AKA #CanYouNot.
9. Set goals. For yourself, for your company, and for anything you want to attain. Be sure to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based). "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there," Laura Fagundes, Director of Marketing, SecureDocs, Inc. Don't skip a step; do the work and make things happen.
10. Always be authentic. I learned that there’s authenticity to Gary Vaynerchuck saying “fuck” all of the time. It’s real. “When you’re trying to create something authentic, it doesn’t work. People can smell it on you.” - Anna Kendrick, you go girl.
Did these takeaways totally make you rethink your life choices? SAME. Just know that all of the above lessons were repeated more than once throughout #INBOUND16. The speakers weren’t only interested in telling the trials and errors of their business strategies, but were driven by the idea that success begins and ends with the people you surround yourself with. So, think about that when you decide who gets to join you on your trip to Boston next year for Inbound 2017.