11 People I Don’t Want To Meet At SMX West

February 26, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

On Monday, Rhea, Rae and I will all be heading to Santa Clara to attend, speak and liveblog the annual SMX West show. I’m excited. I’m mostly excited to meet lots of new people and reconnect with old friends. If you’re only familiar with Online Lisa, you may be surprised to know that Real Life Lisa is actually a little shy. I am not the type of girl who will walk over and introduce myself. I will, however, keep looking at you until you come over and introduce yourself. I’m subtle like that.

Since SMX is a fairly intimate show, I’m really hoping to get to meet a lot of new folks. So, if you see me, please do come up and say hi. With that in mind, though, here are a list of 11 people I DON’T want to meet while at SMX.

The Guy Who Gives Last Year’s Presentation

I understand that sometimes stuff hasn’t changed that much since the last time you spoke on a topic. But, I don’t care. A new show still requires a new presentation, even if it’s just partially new. Respect your audience enough to give them something fresh. You were selected and put in the position of an Expert for this panel. You owe it to the people who came to see you. And if you do decide to rehash the exact same presentation you gave a year ago, expect me to call you out in my blog coverage. Because I have and will again.

The Guy Who Uses Overused Examples

At Pubcon Las Vegas, you could hear the collective groan in the room when Comcast, Dell, and Southwest were used as smart social media examples. The groan was actually audible. You’re not telling anyone anything new when you talk about how Zappos is rocking the social media world. We’re happy for them but we’ve heard it before. It’s time for some new examples. You had plenty of time to find them when you were creating your new presentation. And if you couldn’t, maybe you should be in the audience instead of on stage.

The Guy Who Only Talks to A-Listers

Something I love about this industry is that you never know who you’re talking to. Just because someone doesn’t have “Google” written on their badge doesn’t mean they don’t have incredible knowledge to share or that they’re not doing things right now that would blow your mind. You’re at a conference filled with smart search minds, you should talk to everyone you can. Take advantage of all the networking events and lunches and meet people. Everyone. If you do, I guarantee you’re going to walk away from SMX with some incredible contacts and a new plan for your business.

The Guy You Never See

The opposite of the guy who only talks to A-listers is the person who talks to no one. Or the guy who spends the whole week in his hotel room being anti-social and calling it “working”. Hey, we all have work to do. But you paid money to attend one of the best search conferences on the planet. SHOW UP! If you’re a conference introvert, learn the tricks to help overcome that. You owe it to yourself and whoever is footing your conference bill. There’s nothing worse than going home and kicking yourself for not making that contact.

The Guy Who Gossips

The SEO community is incredibly tight knit and it’s a place where great friendships are made. It’s also a place where gossip sometimes gets the best of us. Avoid it. The quickest way to turn someone off or lose a business contact is to spend too much time talking about others. Just don’t.

The Guy Constantly Pitching

You do SEO services? What a coincidence! WE DO, TOO! You can get us super cheap content? Awesome. You have a product that can save my life? Sweet! But… can I finish my drink first and the story I was in the middle of telling? We all have companies and agendas, and after I get to know you I probably wouldn’t mind hearing about yours. But don’t start there just because you’re proud to finally have it memorized. Do yourself a favor and listen to what the other people are saying around you. Listen to their stories, their ideas and their struggles. You may learn something. Or maybe you know something that can help. Help me and I’ll be much more interested in your pitch later.

The Guy With More Schwag Than He Can Carry

Unless you are Tamar, it is socially unacceptable to treat the exhibit floor of a conference like a Kmart. You do not need 20 T-shirts donning the logos of brands you can’t even name, and, really, what are you even planning to DO with all those Google pens? Put down the squishy frog, the five water bottles and go talk to someone.

The Guy Who Stalks Search Reps In The Bathroom

This is a serious problem that I think we need to talk about, people. If you see someone in the bathroom, I don’t care who this person is, leave them alone and let them have their peace. Search reps are people too and they deserve to have a little downtime, especially if they walked into the bathroom to get away from the swarm of people outside. Cuttlets are terrifying. A little air.

The Guy Who Gets Inappropriate

I’m not sure how to say this other than to just say it, so I will: Don’t be creepy. If you’re a dude, don’t stalk the younger girls and make them feel uncomfortable while you stare at them. If you’re a woman, don’t make inappropriate comments about being a cougar. This is a work conference. Yeah, we get a little more informal once the sessions end, but this is still a business conference. You don’t want to do or say anything you’re going to regret in the morning. When you find out it’s on Twitter.

The Guy Who Has One Question, In 5 Parts & A Personal Story

If you are handed a mic at SMX and given the opportunity to ask a panel of experts a question, you should absolutely take it. However, you get one question each time the mic is placed in your hand. As I’ve tweeted multiple times, when you stand up and assert that you have one question, in five parts and a personal story to share, it makes me want to smack you in the face with my laptop. Because even though you paid for your right to ask, so did everyone else in the room. Don’t be a question hog. [I wouldn’t really hit you. Probably.]

The Guy Hogging The Power Outlet

No, I’m serious. I will kill you if you get in the way of me and my power outlet. I have to liveblog 15 sessions. Do you? No? Then get off it. And while you’re up, go grab me something to eat. I probably haven’t eaten in 48 hours and ’ll thank you in the blog.

So, yeah. That about sums it up.  If you don’t fall on that list (and I’m sure you don’t), I really hope to meet or reconnect at West. I’m really much nicer in person. ;)

[If you’re stuck at home, Outspoken’s Fifth Beatle, Michael Streko, provides the How To Be At The SMX: Home Edition. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Also check out Todd Malicoat’s conference douchebag post.]

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