My husband tells me to get over it.
I continue to be surprised by people who reply to me they’re “too busy” to speak at local events or Meetup groups.
However, they find time to travel out of state to speak at regional and national conferences.
What am I missing?
As an event and conference planner for the past seven years for local groups including:
- Michigan UXPA
- Refresh Detroit
- Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup
- WordCamp Detroit 2011 and 2012
- Detroit User Experience
- Internet User Experience
- HighEdWeb Michigan
I’ve been very fortunate to have people in our area accept my invitations to speak at events and conferences. It’s been wonderful to hear their presentations, panels, and workshops.
Lately, I’ve noticed several people who have told me they’re too busy to speak at local events are traveling out of state to speak at national events.
Which puzzled me.
Wouldn’t it be easier to speak locally, where you don’t have to travel, and where you can connect and network with people in your community?
Local events are a great place to start speaking, or to test out that presentation you’re giving at a national conference.
So I asked some of my friends, including speakers who have spoken at events I’ve organized: What am I not understanding?
My friend Misty Mills, who organizes a lot of events, said she didn’t understand it either.
It makes more sense to me to make local networking connections and help those in your area than having to leave the state for ‘bigger’ opportunities where you‘re just one of many. While I would speak at a regional/national conference if I was asked, I have also done many local groups and things. I love local stuff.
Chris Wiegman, who spoke remotely to our Metro Detroit WordPress group last fall, said he’s surprised at how often it happens.
Seems they’re just looking to be part of the ‘cool kids’ who often think themselves above local groups. So sad.
Chris is a big believer in supporting and speaking at local events.
In a local community, having folks who avoid the community in order to speak solely at more ‘prestigious’ events goes against the whole concept of the community they claim to support. The bigger community may be great, but not at the expense of the locals who are just as important, if not more so.
David Brooks, who has graciously spoken at our Refresh Detroit meetups whenever he’s in Michigan, commented he’s seen the trend toward people speaking nationally, and not locally.
He’s noticed that attendance for meetups with national speakers is high, but that good presentations on similar topics by people nearby are ignored.
Drink tea with the locals, says Dino Baskovic, who also spoke at our Refresh Detroit group.
Best advice I ever followed.
Dino remarked he personally gets more value out of his local groups. He commented it’s possible companies pressure people to talk nationally rather than locally.
David Lingholm, another Refresh Detroit speaker, said that in the local social space, it’s challenging to get respect without a national following. I loved his comment about building and recognizing our local community of talented people:
For tech to thrive here, we need to do better job of recognizing talent in our own backyard and nurturing it.
So, I ask you, have you noticed the trend for people to speak at national conferences instead of local events? What would make you choose to speak at a national conference instead of a local event? Share your thoughts in the comments.