I’m Going To MixWest and You Should, Too

MixWest14Mamacita says:  This summer, I had to choose only one conference, so I chose MixWest. There really wasn’t a lot of thinking involved in this decision; my budget is so low this summer that only one conference was possible, and if I had to choose only one, it would be MixWest.  Hands down.  Without a backward glance.

I’ve done a lot of writing for clients these past ten years, and it’s extremely important to me that I do it exactly right – I want my clients to look at my work and think, “Yes, that’s what I wanted. That’s precisely what I had in mind.”

When I take on a client – or, rather, when a client takes on me – promises are made. My day job is teaching expository writing at a community college, so I promise every client that each and every piece of writing I do for him/her will be grammatically correct, and that every word will be spelled properly. This might sound trivial to some of you, but believe me, it is not trivial. Grammatical mistakes and misspelled words on a business level can be disastrous. I tell my students constantly that if there is a misspelled word or a grammatical error on anything presented to the public, that same public had best COUNT THEIR CHANGE, because errors in the front where all can see them usually mean even worse errors in the back where the public can’t see them.

I believe that everyone in every career path owes it to himself/herself and to those who hired him/her to keep skills updated at all times. This goes for teachers, brain surgeons, fry cooks, opera singers, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, IT, underwriters, undertakers, salespeople. . . . everyone. Much of this updating and upgrading can be done on one’s own, of course, but a conference is an excellent opportunity to learn best practices, new practices, innovations, and experiences from professionals, advisors, and people who do what you do and have therefore “been there, done that.”  At MixWest, you will find people who actually understand what you do for a living!

The conferences I love best are BlogHer, New Media Expo, and MixWest.  I can’t get to BlogHer or New Media Expo this year, but I’ll be there in spirit. However, I’ll be at MixWest in all possible ways: heart, soul, body, spirit, humility, and snark.  It would take an advanced case of leprosy or an active volcano to keep me from MixWest. (Invading aliens could be talked into going to the conference with me.)

I’ve never attended a conference from which I didn’t come away a little smarter (or a lot!), but I go to each one for different reasons.  The skills, networking, and connections I make at BlogHer, or  New Media Expo, for example, are very different from the skills, networking, and connections I make at MixWest.  If all conferences were alike, I would need to go to only one.  No two conferences are ever alike, so savvy people try to get to as many as possible.  We learn different things and we’re exposed to different ideas at each one. For me, MixWest offers the best combination of people and learning opportunities.

MixWest is in two weeks, and I highly recommend that you go to its website RIGHT NOW and register, because MixWest (formerly Blog Indiana) is where I have picked up more useful skills than in all my years of graduate school.  I am not exaggerating.

Social media, marketing, tech, design, writing – if your area of business uses any of these things, you will find much at MixWest that will enhance your business.  That’s a promise.

Oh, and if there is such a thing as a business or institution of any kind that does NOT use social Social media treemedia, marketing, tech, design, or writing, somebody is a big fat liar.  EVERY business needs all of those things, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently, be that ‘anyone’ an individual or board or rich guy or son-of-the-boss or Les Nessman with his invisible office walls.  Learn to use these things or your business will start circling the drain.  If you personally can’t be arsed to learn or do them, hire someone who can and will. (Hello!)

MixWest is my conferences of choice for summer 2014, but there are many other conferences as well.  Pick a few and start going regularly.  You’ll be surprised at how fast your business will benefit from just a little more savvy in these areas.

Hospitals, schools, stores, companies. . .  EVERY business benefits from social media, marketing, tech, and design.  If a business has these things locked down, there is something seriously wrong somewhere inside the premises.

Most important, in my own experience, are the contacts you will make – people you will see regularly at conferences year after year.  Ultimately, it is people who help people.  I have met many people who have helped me, enriched me, and shoved me through doors that have benefited me in too many ways to list here.  I hope to sit by some of them once again in just a few days.

Maybe YOU could be at our table, too.  That would be bloody awesome.

Two weeks, MixWest.  To quote the Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited!”




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