Slicing Time in a Face to Face Environment

The Podcasting and New Media Expo was this past weekend in Ontario, California. I’m a fan of the Bourquin brothers’ work overall, and found the event to be well-run from the perspective of someone who throws events for a living. I didn’t connect very well with the content in the speaking sessions this year (and that’s just my personal experience), but I think that some folks got some great information from it all. I saw C.C. Chapman and others doing a fascinating talk about virtual worlds that I wished I’d seen in full, but it’s hard to keep everything together and on track for my own personal schedule at events.

That’s actually what I want to talk about. I have to ask you for your help. I need your advice and some potential ways to manage things. Let me explain my dilemma.

The Overwhelming Effects of Social Networking

I’m fortunate to say that my efforts with Twitter and Facebook and my blog and other media have done exactly what I’ve set out to do: establish a long-distance personal connection with people I see only rarely. I feel that the way people treat me at events like the PMNE conference is directly related to how people perceive my personality and demeanor from afar. They take me to be kind, interested, and approachable.

These things are all true.

The only problem is: it’s hard to scale. I’m one human being. The one-to-many communication platform of Twitter and Facebook and a blog means that I am touching lots of people with the same message. It means you can all touch my message, feel my intentions, and have an experience with them.

In person, it’s a little harder. There’s only one me and there are hundreds of really great people seeking to have a one on one conversation. I’m grateful for this, and I wouldn’t want friends to feel that they couldn’t approach me and talk for a few minutes.

At the PMNE, I met a bunch of people after my speech at the Podcast Academy. They were all wonderful and interesting, and had lots of response to my presentation. It’s exactly what I would hope and made me feel appreciative.

Only, some of the conversations were much too long for me to manage.

Finite Time

First, some distinctions. My real good FRIENDS should feel that they can talk to me whenever they need me. Second, if I’ve met and spoken with you at other events, chances are I’d love to say hi to you at this one, too.

The majority of new people I meet are wonderful and great and amazing. I *love* meeting interesting new people who have some great projects on the go, and who are interested in talking about their passions. I love talking with new people about passionate things.

Sometimes, however, someone will speak to me and try hard to hold my undivided attention for 20 or more minutes at a time, rambling without much substance and not really getting to a point of conversation as much as they’ve decided to share a biography with me.

NOTE: If you’ve just recently met me, chances are I really enjoyed talking with you. This post addresses about 4 people total that I met at this event.

For those types of new people that I’m meeting and talking with about things, I wish there were a way to say, “You’re really interesting and I am grateful you want to talk with me. I only have a limited amount of time to meet and speak with everyone. Could I ask to you follow up with your larger questions via email?”

But I don’t know how.

My Biggest Fears

  • I don’t want people to think I’m a snob.

  • I don’t want someone thinking that I think they’re “unworthy.”
  • I am afraid I’ll miss something truly wonderful, just because someone’s social skills aren’t all that.

So, what do I do? I need to better manage my time, because I’m learning that the people suffering the most from my inability to manage time are my friends, and the people who have something important and legitimate to share with me.

I need advice and strategies. What do you think?

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  • http://trafcom.typepad.com/blog Donna Papacosta

    Chris, I appreciate your not wanting to be perceived as a snob. Personally, I don’t think anyone would say this about you. That being said, I think it’s perfectly fine to say: “You’re really interesting … You know, I only have a limited amount of time to meet and speak with everyone. Could I ask to you follow up with your larger questions via email?” as you’ve said above. If this bothers you, how about saying instead, “I’m really enjoying this conversation and would like to talk with you again. But I don’t want to monopolize you right now. So I’ll let you go…” This accomplishes two things: it makes you look generous in valuing THEIR time. MAYBE it will make them think later that shouldn’t monopolize someone else’s time. Of course some people will never understand, and they’ll try to chew your ear off for 45 minutes!

  • http://trafcom.typepad.com/blog Donna Papacosta

    Chris, I appreciate your not wanting to be perceived as a snob. Personally, I don’t think anyone would say this about you. That being said, I think it’s perfectly fine to say: “You’re really interesting … You know, I only have a limited amount of time to meet and speak with everyone. Could I ask to you follow up with your larger questions via email?” as you’ve said above. If this bothers you, how about saying instead, “I’m really enjoying this conversation and would like to talk with you again. But I don’t want to monopolize you right now. So I’ll let you go…” This accomplishes two things: it makes you look generous in valuing THEIR time. MAYBE it will make them think later that shouldn’t monopolize someone else’s time. Of course some people will never understand, and they’ll try to chew your ear off for 45 minutes!

  • http://organicconversations.com Jeffrey Taylor

    Nice one, Chris. I haven’t seen anyone address this, although I hear all the time from people that such-and-such person, many of them prominent people on the Web, “had a glazed look and was scanning the room for better people to talk to”. This issue needs to be addressed, especially by people who attend/run conferences, but it’s a tough nut to crack.

    There’s no script to follow here but to be as frank as possible without intentionally offending people, so I offer you no words to use. I just say be polite and gracious, but direct. And most importantly, make sure the alternative lines of communication are clearly open. Ask for a business card, perhaps, and write on the back to send them an e-mail later following up on the conversation.

    When I was growing up, someone I looked up to was giving a talk. He brought out a salt shaker and dumped it all over the carpet. He asked us to pick up as much salt as we could, which we did. Of course, there were still white patches in the carpet when we had finished. The man then said “every grain of salt still stuck in the carpet represents a situation in your life that will be impossible to fix, no matter how hard you try.” Such is the case with situations like this. No matter what you say, some people will be left miffed and may leave with a bad impression of you. It’s the law of averages.

    However, because you’ve made it abundantly clear that you’re open to communication later, these people have the opportunity to say they felt offended by what you did and to give you an opportunity to clean up that “mess”. For many, it’s more convenient (and sometimes more fun) to sit in one’s own rotten feeling about the situation. There is nothing you can do about that. Being confident in who you are and what you stand for is all you can do.

  • http://organicconversations.com Jeffrey Taylor

    Nice one, Chris. I haven’t seen anyone address this, although I hear all the time from people that such-and-such person, many of them prominent people on the Web, “had a glazed look and was scanning the room for better people to talk to”. This issue needs to be addressed, especially by people who attend/run conferences, but it’s a tough nut to crack.

    There’s no script to follow here but to be as frank as possible without intentionally offending people, so I offer you no words to use. I just say be polite and gracious, but direct. And most importantly, make sure the alternative lines of communication are clearly open. Ask for a business card, perhaps, and write on the back to send them an e-mail later following up on the conversation.

    When I was growing up, someone I looked up to was giving a talk. He brought out a salt shaker and dumped it all over the carpet. He asked us to pick up as much salt as we could, which we did. Of course, there were still white patches in the carpet when we had finished. The man then said “every grain of salt still stuck in the carpet represents a situation in your life that will be impossible to fix, no matter how hard you try.” Such is the case with situations like this. No matter what you say, some people will be left miffed and may leave with a bad impression of you. It’s the law of averages.

    However, because you’ve made it abundantly clear that you’re open to communication later, these people have the opportunity to say they felt offended by what you did and to give you an opportunity to clean up that “mess”. For many, it’s more convenient (and sometimes more fun) to sit in one’s own rotten feeling about the situation. There is nothing you can do about that. Being confident in who you are and what you stand for is all you can do.

  • http://www.itcamefrommars.co.uk David Marshall

    I tend to come off a little arrogant sometimes, not on purpose mind you. Its just because I like to use a lot of large word sometimes. Which a lot of the locals round here don’t seem to understand. Plus when I get going I can talk really fast.

    Interestingly enough, I heard something on the radio about where you live effecting the speed and pitch of your voice.

    So if you live on mainly flat land, your voice will generally be slower and a little monotonic. An if you live somewhere with a lot of hilly areas and such your voice is going to be faster and have a lot more variety to it.

    It sounded a little odd to me, until I realised that everyone I’ve met so far in Norfolk tends to talk slower with in turn tends to make them seem stupid. And me being from Lincolnshire which has an abundance of both flat land and hills my voice is quite expressive and I can talk very fast if I don’t pay attention.

    So the easiest was I believe to not come off as being Snobbish would be to simple slow down a little when talking.

    But is saying that, I still get a little frustrated with how slow things move here, not just how they talk. My Patience has defiantly gained from the 6 years I have been living here. And no doubt the locals get frustrated at me because I sometimes talk too fast for them to keep up.

    So the best thing to do I guess would be to listen to them speak first and try to talk at the same speed. So they feel more comfortable with what your saying. :)

    oops I sort of went off on one again. my bad.

  • http://www.itcamefrommars.co.uk David Marshall

    I tend to come off a little arrogant sometimes, not on purpose mind you. Its just because I like to use a lot of large word sometimes. Which a lot of the locals round here don’t seem to understand. Plus when I get going I can talk really fast.

    Interestingly enough, I heard something on the radio about where you live effecting the speed and pitch of your voice.

    So if you live on mainly flat land, your voice will generally be slower and a little monotonic. An if you live somewhere with a lot of hilly areas and such your voice is going to be faster and have a lot more variety to it.

    It sounded a little odd to me, until I realised that everyone I’ve met so far in Norfolk tends to talk slower with in turn tends to make them seem stupid. And me being from Lincolnshire which has an abundance of both flat land and hills my voice is quite expressive and I can talk very fast if I don’t pay attention.

    So the easiest was I believe to not come off as being Snobbish would be to simple slow down a little when talking.

    But is saying that, I still get a little frustrated with how slow things move here, not just how they talk. My Patience has defiantly gained from the 6 years I have been living here. And no doubt the locals get frustrated at me because I sometimes talk too fast for them to keep up.

    So the best thing to do I guess would be to listen to them speak first and try to talk at the same speed. So they feel more comfortable with what your saying. :)

    oops I sort of went off on one again. my bad.

  • Gems

    The comments above are super. When I was an HR exec for a major dept store I’d have to give presentations to 200 plus employees. They all wanted to tell me their stories afterwards. Leaving a conversation is difficult since you don’t want to be perceived as the snob who knows more than they do, therefore you’re not interested in what they have to say. To my knowledge, I never burned any bridges by using this tactic:
    person- “talk, blah blah, talk talk…”
    Me- (touch their hand lightly, or put your hand on their arm or shoulder gently) “I’m so sorry I have to interrupt you. Sounds like you’re doing great things! I need to bounce around here a bit, but great to meet/see you!”
    Unavoidable discomfort, but handled the best way you can, and that’s all anyone should expect of you, or you of yourself.

  • Gems

    The comments above are super. When I was an HR exec for a major dept store I’d have to give presentations to 200 plus employees. They all wanted to tell me their stories afterwards. Leaving a conversation is difficult since you don’t want to be perceived as the snob who knows more than they do, therefore you’re not interested in what they have to say. To my knowledge, I never burned any bridges by using this tactic:
    person- “talk, blah blah, talk talk…”
    Me- (touch their hand lightly, or put your hand on their arm or shoulder gently) “I’m so sorry I have to interrupt you. Sounds like you’re doing great things! I need to bounce around here a bit, but great to meet/see you!”
    Unavoidable discomfort, but handled the best way you can, and that’s all anyone should expect of you, or you of yourself.

  • http://www.pattialive.blogspot.com Patti Serrano

    Hi Chris…..I wasn’t able to make it this year, but I have been following the expo stuff and ran across your name.

    Your post was very articulating written and I sooooo know what you are talking about. I have developed a technique that I use when I do speeches, etc. such as what happened to you.

    Let’s communicate here soon. When you get settled, let’s talk. Most of my info is on my blog and web…..great job….Patti

  • http://www.pattialive.blogspot.com Patti Serrano

    Hi Chris…..I wasn’t able to make it this year, but I have been following the expo stuff and ran across your name.

    Your post was very articulating written and I sooooo know what you are talking about. I have developed a technique that I use when I do speeches, etc. such as what happened to you.

    Let’s communicate here soon. When you get settled, let’s talk. Most of my info is on my blog and web…..great job….Patti

  • kat

    my best advice is to bring me to events with you
    that way no one will blame you for walking away
    they’ll blame your mean wife
    i’ll punch them in the gut and scream “Be Polite!”

    oh
    i’m going to podcamp
    we’ll test it out!

  • kat

    my best advice is to bring me to events with you
    that way no one will blame you for walking away
    they’ll blame your mean wife
    i’ll punch them in the gut and scream “Be Polite!”

    oh
    i’m going to podcamp
    we’ll test it out!

  • http://99daz.com Daz Cox

    now you know how that super hot chick in high school felt hehe, why was she such a bitch to you, a snob, and probably a lesbian? because she’s thinking about her date tonight with the guy in college who has his own apartment…

    I think that the key is that you feel empathy, as long as you have that people will understand the demands on your time, so the email statement is appropriate in my opinion.

  • http://99daz.com Daz Cox

    now you know how that super hot chick in high school felt hehe, why was she such a bitch to you, a snob, and probably a lesbian? because she’s thinking about her date tonight with the guy in college who has his own apartment…

    I think that the key is that you feel empathy, as long as you have that people will understand the demands on your time, so the email statement is appropriate in my opinion.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish Grier

    Hi Chris…one of the thing that worries me is that when I approach people I’ve connected with online that they *won’t* be interested in knowing me f2f. I sometimes think that we’er developing (or have already developed) a kind of us-them thinking about who we meet online vs. who we know f2f, and place people in value categories perhaps because it’s just too darned hard to really “know” everyone we meet online…

    And I totally get that disconnect thing/feeling. Where am I today? What world do I *really* live in? Is online just as important as f2f or are they, in many ways, two different worlds? and how do I mediate all that? somedays I just have to walk away and feel the grass under my feet :-)

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish Grier

    Hi Chris…one of the thing that worries me is that when I approach people I’ve connected with online that they *won’t* be interested in knowing me f2f. I sometimes think that we’er developing (or have already developed) a kind of us-them thinking about who we meet online vs. who we know f2f, and place people in value categories perhaps because it’s just too darned hard to really “know” everyone we meet online…

    And I totally get that disconnect thing/feeling. Where am I today? What world do I *really* live in? Is online just as important as f2f or are they, in many ways, two different worlds? and how do I mediate all that? somedays I just have to walk away and feel the grass under my feet :-)

  • http://innovationcreation.us john blue

    Scale by cloning? :)

    Having had hang time with you in past I believe you are very good at introducing new people to others in networking sessions, which gives the new person a welcome feeling and allows you to scale thru others around you. I have appreciated this approach.
    hope this helps
    john

  • http://innovationcreation.us john blue

    Scale by cloning? :)

    Having had hang time with you in past I believe you are very good at introducing new people to others in networking sessions, which gives the new person a welcome feeling and allows you to scale thru others around you. I have appreciated this approach.
    hope this helps
    john

  • Julius

    Personally, I don’t think you should worry too much about what other people think. There’s a way to let people know that you don’t have time, but are interested in what they have to say… give them a business card, ask them to email you (give them your personal address, not the “company address” or it’s equivalent) and then just be honest. “I’d love to hear what you say, but…” and then get back to them later.

    If you let yourself be hamstrung by the fear of what other people will say or think, then you’re going to do a lot more damage to yourself and the way people perceive you–just go with the flow.

    In other news, since your freshly back from PMe, did you (or anyone) peep that guy in the FBI getup who was picking people out of the audience during the keynotes?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/1464438968/

    Was that security? What was that about?

  • Julius

    Personally, I don’t think you should worry too much about what other people think. There’s a way to let people know that you don’t have time, but are interested in what they have to say… give them a business card, ask them to email you (give them your personal address, not the “company address” or it’s equivalent) and then just be honest. “I’d love to hear what you say, but…” and then get back to them later.

    If you let yourself be hamstrung by the fear of what other people will say or think, then you’re going to do a lot more damage to yourself and the way people perceive you–just go with the flow.

    In other news, since your freshly back from PMe, did you (or anyone) peep that guy in the FBI getup who was picking people out of the audience during the keynotes?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cc_chapman/1464438968/

    Was that security? What was that about?

  • http://infinitypro.blogspot.com INFINITY PRO: “NEENZ”

    It seems that you’ve created the world of a ‘celebrity’, without even trying. You’ve gotten your message across by blogging ’bout it because those that will want your attention probably subscribe as well.

    How do you find balance in the perception of others, without losing balance within yourself?

    Politely excusing yourself as you mentioned above.

    The person that will perceive, interpret and discuss your behavior in a negative tone would have probably done it anyways even if you spent more time with them. Perhaps, just the type of individuals they already were.

    It’s your compassion of your passion and others that keep people in tune to Chris Brogan.

    I have my own personal rule, “Not everybody loves NEENZ.”

  • http://infinitypro.blogspot.com INFINITY PRO: “NEENZ”

    It seems that you’ve created the world of a ‘celebrity’, without even trying. You’ve gotten your message across by blogging ’bout it because those that will want your attention probably subscribe as well.

    How do you find balance in the perception of others, without losing balance within yourself?

    Politely excusing yourself as you mentioned above.

    The person that will perceive, interpret and discuss your behavior in a negative tone would have probably done it anyways even if you spent more time with them. Perhaps, just the type of individuals they already were.

    It’s your compassion of your passion and others that keep people in tune to Chris Brogan.

    I have my own personal rule, “Not everybody loves NEENZ.”

  • anonymous

    mr. brogan, my respect for you is ineffable. many events and many times i have seen you ‘turn it on’ for those that you come into contact with.

    i know you as honest and true.

    it is no mystery to anyone that has met you, that as a character judge, brogan . . . you’re a bad motherfucker.

    james brown, bad.

  • anonymous

    mr. brogan, my respect for you is ineffable. many events and many times i have seen you ‘turn it on’ for those that you come into contact with.

    i know you as honest and true.

    it is no mystery to anyone that has met you, that as a character judge, brogan . . . you’re a bad motherfucker.

    james brown, bad.

  • http://www.somethingtobedesired.com Justin Kownacki

    Go to your next conference with a fistful of lollipops. Every time you meet someone you don’t already know, give them a lollipop. When you’re out of lollipops: sorry, you can only talk to people you already know.

    Ideally, the lollipops will run out right around the time that the booze kicks in.

  • http://www.somethingtobedesired.com Justin Kownacki

    Go to your next conference with a fistful of lollipops. Every time you meet someone you don’t already know, give them a lollipop. When you’re out of lollipops: sorry, you can only talk to people you already know.

    Ideally, the lollipops will run out right around the time that the booze kicks in.

  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    It’s a love-hate thing with conferences- wanting to hang with old friends, wanting to meet new and interesting people. It’s a tough balance. In some ways, I found having some friends stay with me at Podcamp Philly made this nice- I got to hang with friends while driving to the airport, driving home, at breakfast early- all those normal “alone” moments were filled with fun and support.
    I think this is in part what business cards are ofr- to say, “Let me grab your contact information, and I’ll send you a note as soon as I get back…” and then follow through, or hand your card and ask them to email you more.

    I know in some ways we got to know each other because I asked you a question after Podcamp Boston 1- and things evolved from there. In a year since, we’ve become great friends. But relationships build over time, and people just have to trust that you are good to your word and will respond (having them email you is probably simplier) and that your time is limited at a confeence per se.

  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    It’s a love-hate thing with conferences- wanting to hang with old friends, wanting to meet new and interesting people. It’s a tough balance. In some ways, I found having some friends stay with me at Podcamp Philly made this nice- I got to hang with friends while driving to the airport, driving home, at breakfast early- all those normal “alone” moments were filled with fun and support.
    I think this is in part what business cards are ofr- to say, “Let me grab your contact information, and I’ll send you a note as soon as I get back…” and then follow through, or hand your card and ask them to email you more.

    I know in some ways we got to know each other because I asked you a question after Podcamp Boston 1- and things evolved from there. In a year since, we’ve become great friends. But relationships build over time, and people just have to trust that you are good to your word and will respond (having them email you is probably simplier) and that your time is limited at a confeence per se.

  • http://geniusoflove.blogspot.com Michael Dillon

    The sun never shies in every place all the time. You only have so much time and sometimes, that just can’t be devoted to interpersonal relationships. It sucks, but hey, that’s just the way it is. Anybody who reads your blog knows how busy you are, and you just don’t have time time all the time.

    I’ll give you a good example of someone who handles a dilemma like yours very well. Mark Cuban, the Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is probably as busy a person as you would meet, given his duties with his basketball team and dancing and all. Yet, if you write him an email, he WILL answer you. I like this, because although he may not have the time to talk to you, he does have the time to listen. And I think that makes a world of difference.

  • http://geniusoflove.blogspot.com Michael Dillon

    The sun never shies in every place all the time. You only have so much time and sometimes, that just can’t be devoted to interpersonal relationships. It sucks, but hey, that’s just the way it is. Anybody who reads your blog knows how busy you are, and you just don’t have time time all the time.

    I’ll give you a good example of someone who handles a dilemma like yours very well. Mark Cuban, the Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is probably as busy a person as you would meet, given his duties with his basketball team and dancing and all. Yet, if you write him an email, he WILL answer you. I like this, because although he may not have the time to talk to you, he does have the time to listen. And I think that makes a world of difference.

  • http://eventsmedia.blogspot.com mike mcallen

    You are a snob. But I enjoyed seeing you again at he Podcast Expo. Getting a nice fat slice of Brogan is on everyone’s Xmas list. I think you should maybe worry about some other Broganisms besides dividing up your time in a conference setting. I noticed you take your pants off during conference sessions. FYI to anyone who wanting more than a slice of your time, try sitting next to you all day at the podcast academy. Quick Tip: Southern California = Corduroy jacket staying in hotel room. It also gets exhausting at your knack for introducing everyone and making everyone feel so fricken comfortable. I am not used to being liked and being introduced as “my friend Mike McAllen” it added intense pressure that I needed to be interesting. I really enjoyed being part of the popular crowd for an instant when you gave me a come hither smile as I walked by in the expo hallway and I was suddenly surrounded by eric rice, cc chapman and several other important “internet people”. I was in the cool crowd for an just an instant. Thanks for pulling me in to your world. Life is too short worrying about what people think. Just be a good person, smile and say lets catch up later if you want to move on. Keep it simple. I found a small slice of Brogan was just fine. And I look back on how you deftly broke our last conversation up with. “Jesus you are boring f-ing the crap out of me Mike” it really gave me the subtle picture I needed that I had obviously overextended our allotted Brogan time.

  • http://eventsmedia.blogspot.com mike mcallen

    You are a snob. But I enjoyed seeing you again at he Podcast Expo. Getting a nice fat slice of Brogan is on everyone’s Xmas list. I think you should maybe worry about some other Broganisms besides dividing up your time in a conference setting. I noticed you take your pants off during conference sessions. FYI to anyone who wanting more than a slice of your time, try sitting next to you all day at the podcast academy. Quick Tip: Southern California = Corduroy jacket staying in hotel room. It also gets exhausting at your knack for introducing everyone and making everyone feel so fricken comfortable. I am not used to being liked and being introduced as “my friend Mike McAllen” it added intense pressure that I needed to be interesting. I really enjoyed being part of the popular crowd for an instant when you gave me a come hither smile as I walked by in the expo hallway and I was suddenly surrounded by eric rice, cc chapman and several other important “internet people”. I was in the cool crowd for an just an instant. Thanks for pulling me in to your world. Life is too short worrying about what people think. Just be a good person, smile and say lets catch up later if you want to move on. Keep it simple. I found a small slice of Brogan was just fine. And I look back on how you deftly broke our last conversation up with. “Jesus you are boring f-ing the crap out of me Mike” it really gave me the subtle picture I needed that I had obviously overextended our allotted Brogan time.

  • http://creativecurio.com LaurenMarie – Creative Curio

    Hi Chris! I’m new around here (found you from a link on Copyblogger about the 100 post topics you’d love to see others write about… interesting subjects, btw!). I added your feed to my reader because I’m intensely interested in social media and how it’s shaping the internet and that seems to be right up your ally!

    I was reading some of your most recent posts, this one and the previous one in particular. I read this first and then the other and I noticed how you used the asking personal questions advice you gave previously. While I was reading this post the first time, I was aware of how much I identified with you (even though I’ve never been in this situation) and wanted to help you. You have a very engaging writing style and it really drew me in (and again, the subject is very interesting to me).

    I’m imagining if I were talking with you in a situation like this. I think I would understand if you were to say, “You know, I would love to keep chatting with you, but I’m short on time right now. Here’s my card (with email, website, yadda) and be sure, please, to send me an email so we can talk more!” Maybe say something along the lines of “this way I can devote more time and attention to our conversation.” Most people will get it, and those that don’t, well, they were probably too self-centered to notice it wasn’t about them anyway. Donna had some really great advice, too: make it about them. People love to be stars!

  • http://creativecurio.com LaurenMarie – Creative Curio

    Hi Chris! I’m new around here (found you from a link on Copyblogger about the 100 post topics you’d love to see others write about… interesting subjects, btw!). I added your feed to my reader because I’m intensely interested in social media and how it’s shaping the internet and that seems to be right up your ally!

    I was reading some of your most recent posts, this one and the previous one in particular. I read this first and then the other and I noticed how you used the asking personal questions advice you gave previously. While I was reading this post the first time, I was aware of how much I identified with you (even though I’ve never been in this situation) and wanted to help you. You have a very engaging writing style and it really drew me in (and again, the subject is very interesting to me).

    I’m imagining if I were talking with you in a situation like this. I think I would understand if you were to say, “You know, I would love to keep chatting with you, but I’m short on time right now. Here’s my card (with email, website, yadda) and be sure, please, to send me an email so we can talk more!” Maybe say something along the lines of “this way I can devote more time and attention to our conversation.” Most people will get it, and those that don’t, well, they were probably too self-centered to notice it wasn’t about them anyway. Donna had some really great advice, too: make it about them. People love to be stars!

  • http://rebeccarachmany.blogspot.com Rebecca Rachmany

    Jeff Pulver has a great tactic, he pulls out his camera and says “let me photograph you for my blog”. I guess it filled the space of serving people coffee so they know the dinner party is over.

    Frankly, though, reading this post, I suspect you don’t need any tips. Your whole attitude is one of giving everyone credit for being an interesting and whole human being, regardless of communication style. You can’t fake this stuff. If you are authentically caring, then saying the wrong thing won’t hurt you. If you aren’t, saying the right thing won’t help.

  • http://rebeccarachmany.blogspot.com Rebecca Rachmany

    Jeff Pulver has a great tactic, he pulls out his camera and says “let me photograph you for my blog”. I guess it filled the space of serving people coffee so they know the dinner party is over.

    Frankly, though, reading this post, I suspect you don’t need any tips. Your whole attitude is one of giving everyone credit for being an interesting and whole human being, regardless of communication style. You can’t fake this stuff. If you are authentically caring, then saying the wrong thing won’t hurt you. If you aren’t, saying the right thing won’t help.

  • http://www.NewMediaExpo.com Tim Bourquin

    I have the same issues as well during the event. I’m usually overwhelmed with managing the Expo and get approached often to be interviewed on someone’s podcast or to get feedback.

    A few things I do:

    1) Right up front I tell people how much time I have. “I’m so sorry – I have just about 3 minutes to chat.” This usually entices them to get to the point right away

    2) I have business cards in my shirt pocket and ready to go. After a few minutes, I pull one out and say, “I’d love to hear more about this when I can dedicate my full attention to it – can you email me or give me a call next week?”

    and

    3) When I definitely have to start heading to the next meeting I say, “Sure – let’s talk – but you’ll have to walk with me.” This allows me to make it to the next “fire” I have to put out or meeting to go to and gives them a few minutes to tell me their feedback.

    Tim

  • http://www.NewMediaExpo.com Tim Bourquin

    I have the same issues as well during the event. I’m usually overwhelmed with managing the Expo and get approached often to be interviewed on someone’s podcast or to get feedback.

    A few things I do:

    1) Right up front I tell people how much time I have. “I’m so sorry – I have just about 3 minutes to chat.” This usually entices them to get to the point right away

    2) I have business cards in my shirt pocket and ready to go. After a few minutes, I pull one out and say, “I’d love to hear more about this when I can dedicate my full attention to it – can you email me or give me a call next week?”

    and

    3) When I definitely have to start heading to the next meeting I say, “Sure – let’s talk – but you’ll have to walk with me.” This allows me to make it to the next “fire” I have to put out or meeting to go to and gives them a few minutes to tell me their feedback.

    Tim

  • http://www.jonglassett.com Jon

    I think it’s something that takes practice doing with gentle assertiveness. Keep the script simple, positive and start moving without waiting for approval. Simply saying, “Hey, I’m glad I’ve had the chance to talk with you. I’ve got a long list of folks I want to meet in person. Let’s catch up again [via email, on Facebook, or whatever]. Thanks for your time” and then getting contact info and moving on is all it really takes.

    No negatives. No shutdown. No asking permission. You’re not saying “Shut the hell up and let me talk to someone interesting for the love of Pete!” You’re just informing them that you’ve got to roll. If they take that kind of a break badly that’s really not on you.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

    It’s been really great commenting on your blog. I have a lot of other websites I want to vandalize…

    -Jon

  • http://www.jonglassett.com Jon

    I think it’s something that takes practice doing with gentle assertiveness. Keep the script simple, positive and start moving without waiting for approval. Simply saying, “Hey, I’m glad I’ve had the chance to talk with you. I’ve got a long list of folks I want to meet in person. Let’s catch up again [via email, on Facebook, or whatever]. Thanks for your time” and then getting contact info and moving on is all it really takes.

    No negatives. No shutdown. No asking permission. You’re not saying “Shut the hell up and let me talk to someone interesting for the love of Pete!” You’re just informing them that you’ve got to roll. If they take that kind of a break badly that’s really not on you.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

    It’s been really great commenting on your blog. I have a lot of other websites I want to vandalize…

    -Jon

  • http://www.iprong.com Bill Palmer

    I get some of this (not as much as you, I’ve seen what you go through), not from people who want my insight so much as people who want to sell me something because they think I have more money than I really do because I’ve helped sponsor a few events.

    If it’s someone I think I can be honest with, I go that route. If I say “Loved talking with you, I have to get back with my booth” or “I’m late for a panel” it’s usually the truth. But for the true ball-hoggers, which are rare but can swallow 20 minutes that I could have used to meet five other people who weren’t trying to sell me something, I follow a simple plan: don’t be alone.

    I don’t mean carry an entourage around with you. What I mean is that when you’re with (actual close) friends, make sure they know that a particular roll of the eyes from you in their direction means that they need to perk up with “hey Chris, come on, we’re running late.” There’s your out. And if you are alone, scan around for someone you trust to bail you out in the same fashion.

    You don’t have to come up with secret codes or send up smoke signals, but your “real” friends will know “that look” from you when the time comes. I only had to use it once this Expo (if you’re reading this, it wasn’t you!) and it worked. I don’t know if it would always work on the scale of what you go through, but it’s a nice quick and dirty out when it works.

  • http://www.iprong.com Bill Palmer

    I get some of this (not as much as you, I’ve seen what you go through), not from people who want my insight so much as people who want to sell me something because they think I have more money than I really do because I’ve helped sponsor a few events.

    If it’s someone I think I can be honest with, I go that route. If I say “Loved talking with you, I have to get back with my booth” or “I’m late for a panel” it’s usually the truth. But for the true ball-hoggers, which are rare but can swallow 20 minutes that I could have used to meet five other people who weren’t trying to sell me something, I follow a simple plan: don’t be alone.

    I don’t mean carry an entourage around with you. What I mean is that when you’re with (actual close) friends, make sure they know that a particular roll of the eyes from you in their direction means that they need to perk up with “hey Chris, come on, we’re running late.” There’s your out. And if you are alone, scan around for someone you trust to bail you out in the same fashion.

    You don’t have to come up with secret codes or send up smoke signals, but your “real” friends will know “that look” from you when the time comes. I only had to use it once this Expo (if you’re reading this, it wasn’t you!) and it worked. I don’t know if it would always work on the scale of what you go through, but it’s a nice quick and dirty out when it works.

  • http://twitter.com/maxweb MaxWeb

    I find the words, “Alright, well…” are usually the best beginning to breaking away in social situations.

    Alright, well…

  • http://twitter.com/maxweb MaxWeb

    I find the words, “Alright, well…” are usually the best beginning to breaking away in social situations.

    Alright, well…

  • http://www.jcberk.com Jennifer Berk

    One possible modification, on the tactical end. “Could I ask to you follow up with your larger questions via email?” is more likely to be interpreted as a brush-off than “Can I email you so we can continue this conversation?” Putting the onus on yourself rather than on them makes the person you’re talking to feel they’re doing you a favor, so you can’t possibly come off as snobby. They will then probably hand you a card and you can thank them and turn to your next conversation partner. Of course, this isn’t particularly compatible with learning to say no to things….

  • http://www.jcberk.com Jennifer Berk

    One possible modification, on the tactical end. “Could I ask to you follow up with your larger questions via email?” is more likely to be interpreted as a brush-off than “Can I email you so we can continue this conversation?” Putting the onus on yourself rather than on them makes the person you’re talking to feel they’re doing you a favor, so you can’t possibly come off as snobby. They will then probably hand you a card and you can thank them and turn to your next conversation partner. Of course, this isn’t particularly compatible with learning to say no to things….

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