Category Archives: Conferences

Things relating to conferences and networking events

WDS: Five Storytelling Lessons from Coaching the Attendee Storytellers at World Domination Summit

People on a stage

I stood up, feeling the fizz of excitement under my skin, and started looking around the empty lobby of the conference hall. It was evening. I knew that most people had left, but I needed to be certain.

Yep, I was definitely alone.

I walked to the space where there were no chairs. Then, silently and frantically, I began leaping up and down, alternately punching my fists in the air, before ending on a little stationary run.

It was Saturday night, and I had just finished coaching the Attendee Storytellers for World Domination Summit.

WDS is a conference where, once a year, several thousand do-gooders descend on Portland, to get inspired and try and figure out how to make the world a better place. Along with TED-style informative and inspiring speakers, every year, they have a number of “Attendee Stories” on the main stage – where people from the audience can apply to get up and have a go themselves.

I told a story a few years ago – you can hear it here – and, since then, I’ve become the Official Storytelling Coach for World Domination Summit. Which sounds like loads of fun – and is – until you know that I have just one afternoon to help all the storytellers get their 20 or 30 minute stories down to one minute.

One.

Tiny.

Minute.

It’s brutal but, every year, I do it – and, every year, the challenge makes me feel high as a kite afterwards. Hence the silent, solo leaping around.

Here are five things I learned from coaching this year’s attendee storytellers at World Domination Summit

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Late for your plane? Try this

A guy sitting with a bottle of water

I caught sight of him and my heart sank. I had about twenty seconds to decide whether or not I could hide – then realised that there was no way.

I bloody LOVE airports. Sometimes, after I land (especially in a UK airport), I just hang around for a bit, to soak up the atmosphere.

“Hey, you!!” My friend Talib waved, from three rows ahead of me on the plane. “Are you going to WDS??”

World Domination Summit is a yearly conference in Portland, where several thousand do-gooders getting together to make the world a better place. I go every year – and am now the conference’s Storytelling Coach.

“I am!” I said, waving back. “Let’s chat when we get to Calgary!”

I’d met Talib a few times before and really liked him. He’s smart, articulate, funny, and it’s always a nice change to find a man working in my very woman-heavy field, of coaching and personal growth.

But I love travelling alone. LOVE. And I worried that, him being here was going to cut into my special airplane solo time.

Five hours later…

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How my patronising altruism WILDLY benefitted me

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t publicly admit having had this thought process. It shows that I can sometimes be an egotistical dick. But I like the end of it so much that I want to tell you.

I come to you from the train I’m taking from St Catharines (no apostrophe) back to Toronto. Last night I ran a workshop – my third in a year – for Brock University, on Networking That’s Effective and Actually Fun, for their entrepreneurial students in their BioLinc incubator.

One of the things I teach the students was how important it is to add value to people, long before you ask for anything.

An amazing way to add value is to thank people for teachings you’ve enjoyed, being specific where you can. Another is offering to make…

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How to Avoid Small Talk – with the Perfect Question (VIDEO)

My friend was once in a queue and overheard the man behind him loudly declaring, “You see, I’m the kind of guy who really doesn’t like to line up. I like to just get in and get out. But this? Not for me.”

I feel about him the way I feel about the kind of smug, annoying person who…

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Made a Dork of yourself in front of a VIP? Here’s how to deal. ASK (YES YES) MARSH (VIDEO)

Acting like a dork in front of someone we want to impress. We’ve ALL done it. There’s a reason why the video where I introduced you to your Dork Goblin – aka the spirit that comes down to possess you when you’re speaking to someone you want to impress, and makes you act the opposite of how…

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Eight Things I Learned From Going Naked Camping

We sat in the car, giggling.
“We’re not even allowed to walk in the car park with our clothes on!” my friend said.
“Really? Really?? Hang on – I can see some people on the patio. They’re CLOTHED!!” I was outraged. Or maybe just super-nervous.

She looked over. “Not all of them are. Come on”
She started whipping off her pants and t shirt, and I did the same.
“I’m going to wear a hat,” she said.
“I don’t have one!” I wailed. “I’m going to wear my back pack. At least then I can fiddle with the straps.”

Finally, we got out of the car…

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Top Ten Tips – Networking for Introverts (that’s actually FUN & EASY!) [VIDEO]

Having just come back from World Domination Summit – a giant conference of 3,000 do-gooders in Portland – and having actually enjoyed myself, I thought it was about time I shared a Top Ten of advice for anyone who’s off to a conference or event, thinks that they hate networking, and is REALLY NERVOUS.

Here you go. My favourite is pencil-mouth lady. Yours?

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Feel Like Everyone Else Has Their Sh–t Together and You Don’t? Do This Now

At certain moments in life, your emotional response to a situation is so extreme – and so inappropriate for your immediate circumstances – that you have to do everything in your power to hide it. Use every ounce of strength to construct your features into a shape that would suggest that you feel the opposite of the way you actually do.

Getting broken up with by someone you’ve not been seeing for very long, that’s one.

I remember another: I’d been working at Virgin Megastores’ in-store radio station for a few months, but I didn’t want to be there…

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How Not To Be Self-Conscious (VIDEO)

If you are a certain kind of person, going out can sometimes be terrifying.

If you’ve ever hung out with me in person, over the phone or skype, in the audience at a talk or workshop, or even just through watching my videos, it would be easy to assume that I was a pretty confident lady.

But if you’ve read some of my blogs, you’ll know that (a) I wasn’t always – it took quite a lot of faking it until I became it, and (b) I still have moments of almost-crippling insecurity, where going to an event feels really scary.

It’s in these moments that I employ a mantra – one I got from a Bridget Jones-related lady spy, and that I now pass onto my clients. Click play to find out more:

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Networking: When It’s OK to Lie

I know the ten commandments suggest not to, but sometimes, thou SHALT lie:

If you’re on a night out, your friend asks whether her hair looks weird – and it does, and there’s nothing she can do about it right now, tell her no. If your brother was right in the middle of an important interview and accidentally let out a massive (and noisy) fart, then he asks you – mortified – if you think the interviewers laughed at him after he left, say, “They probably don’t even remember”.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m usually all about not lying – not being a fake, schmoozy, gross caricature of everything people hate about networking.

But sometimes: you need to. Here are those times:

(1) When extracting yourself from…

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