The first tale: This leader gives herself a high five for confirming registration, scoring a decent flight (with carbon offset also covered) and an “ok” hotel within walking distance. She’s briefly scanned the agenda, has a general idea of her intentions for being there, and is ready for her 10 minutes on a panel.
The second tale: This leader matches the above, but has done so much more to make sure the impact of the trip – for establishing new contacts, raising her profile, making sure her organization is visible in the conversation, and their commitment to climate action is clear – is maximized. She knows that her presence there can be a great thread in her company’s brand and climate action storytelling. She has done a much deeper dive on the overall agenda, the specific and most critical sessions for her to attend, and the key speakers she’d like to meet or say hello to. She’s noticed how her contribution to the panel fits in with the session’s overall narrative, and has written a topic bridging blog post for her organization’s site (or even simply her LinkedIn page) to post a few days before the conference begins. She’s been on Twitter for a few years, but more recently started to zero in on key hashtags and has made a Twitter list of key influencers (including media) who will also be there, which she will take the time to monitor and engage with in advance. She has a few links ready to share that serve as background for her speaking topic. She does a few live tweets from the event in the day or hours before her appearance. She is incredibly prepared, understanding the whole “vibe” of her session and her role in it for her panel. After the panel, she responds and engages with anyone who tweeted a good comment or quoted her. She also Twitter-thanks the organization and panel moderator for a productive session. She writes down a few key notes, uses the Twitter stream as reminder notes, and then outlines her idea for the follow up blog post she’ll pull together the following week. “Phew, “she thinks. “This is a lot of work, but worth it, and why I only attend or speak at a few key conferences a year. “
When all is said and done, which leader can report back to her boss or Board on the connections made, the media members met, the profile raised, and the future partners discovered? Which one feels like the whole endeavor, expense and carbon costs were worth being away from the office or usual work day, as well as her family?
Which tale will be yours this fall, for Climate Week NYC, the Global Climate Action Summit or any of the others?
I very well may have been born to make sure you are living the high impact dream of the second one. (I will ask my parents about this.)