Practice what you preach

Chris Brogan

Last week I attended the Social Media World Forum (#SMWF) in London where I had the good fortune to watch a number of interesting keynotes and panel discussions. The highlight of the two days for me was Chris Brogan’s keynote presentation on day one. I’ve been a fan of Chris’s work for a few years now so he was one of the main draws for my attendance at the event.

Although I’d never seen Chris present live before I was confident he’d put on a good show and as expected, he didn’t disappoint. What I (and I’m sure the majority of the audience) liked most about Chris’s keynote was the common sense approach he took to the presentation and the relaxed yet professional style of his delivery.

Chris didn’t go into detail about social media tools or how develop a strategy. Instead he talked more broadly on how to do good business using using digital marketing, why it’s important to measure revenue (not ‘likes’!) and why it’s important to make your customer a hero.

They say “don’t meet your heroes”…

Well I think you should. Or at least try to!

Up until last week I hadn’t really met any real ‘heroes’ of mine (Paul McCartney, Richard Branson and Bob Dylan are still on my list!). But in terms of new media, marketing and blogging, Chris Brogan certainly fits into my ‘idols’ category.

Shortly after Chris’s presentation I plucked up the courage to introduce myself and we soon got chatting about everything from social media, Trust Agents, editing… and buddhism! Chris was friendly, generous with his time and appeared genuinely humble to meet an admirer of his work. If this was all the time I’d get with Chris I’d have been pretty happy.

But on the second day of the event at breakfast Chris walked into the restaurant… and chose to sit with me! I was a little taken aback at first but after some small talk we eventually got talking about some loftier issues.

For nearly two hours I had the fantastic opportunity to talk with Chris one-to-one. As well as giving me a run-through of his background and how he got to where he is today, Chris and I also spoke about business philosophy, entrepreneurship as well as our mutual affection for other thought-leaders such as Mitch Joel, Christopher S Penn and Julien Smith.

Human business works

In his blog, Chris Brogan regularly emphasises the importance of being helpful. Business is about building relationships, connecting with people on a human level and giving much more than you take.

What I learned from Chris, in addition to his experience and expert insight, is how to practice what you preach. Chris may have over 200,000 unique visitors to his blog, the same number of followers on Twitter and a growing following on Google+,  yet he didn’t approach me with an ego or an attitude.

Instead Chris took the time to get to know me, my interests and ambitions and approached me as an equal.

Chris demonstrated how to do business in a ‘human’ way and how to put your ideas and philosophy into action.