#086: What I Learned From The Platform Conference [Podcast]

I just attended the single best business conference I've ever been to… and it has nothing to do with my being one of the speakers!

Platform

Today, I share my notes from this week's Platform Conference. By the time you listen to today's podcast, you will have discovered:

  • The real secret to stress-free productivity
  • How to get your business cards imported into your smart phone for free
  • Why you procrastinate and how to stop doing that
  • A simple formula that allows you to WOW your customers
  • The secret that allowed Jeff Goins to build 100,000 readers for his blog
  • The simple method for building an intimate connection with your tribe that will surprise you
  • The altar you are probably worshiping at that will eventually kill you, and what to do about it
  • Why it's important for you to make as much money as possible
  • And much, much more!

Announcements:

  • The Return of the Lifestyle Business Segment, and listener questions.
  • Our first ever annual readers poll is coming tomorrow.
  •  Next week I'll be offering a free video training series on writing powerful persuasive copy. Be looking for it.
  • A new listener comment contest.

Conferences where I will be attending and/or speaking:

Tip Of The Week

Cardmunch is a free iPhone app that turns business cards into contacts.

Spiritual Foundations

We accomplish the most from a place of rest.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Rest does not equal in activity. It means that we are able to be active without fear, doubt, or emotional striving. We become peace inside chaos, we are the call my at the center of the storm.

Feature Segment: What I Learned From The Platform Conference

Nearly every significant turning point in my life has been marked by attending a conference.  which is not to say that every conference I have attended was a life changer; but even at the “poorly produced” conferences, I always learn something of value.

This week, I  had a life-changing experience at the single best business conference I have ever had the privilege of attending, the Platform Conference in Dallas, Texas.

How does this affect you? As always, I seek to learn everything I can and then bring it back here to share with you. While not every one of the ideas I'm going to share is necessarily be applicable to you, I believe many of them will. Here are some (not all) of the most valuable things I learned at this year's platform conference.

The absolute imperative of building your own platform. “Platform” is a metaphor for the stage you construct from which you share your ideas, insights, and advice. As Michael Hyatt says in his book Platform, building a platform is how you “get noticed in a noisy world”. I write frequently about creating strategic influence; which means to exert influence in the lives of people who have never even met you. The mechanism by which you do this is your platform. Although I have long been a proponent of platform building, after this week's conference I am absolutely convinced it is of paramount importance for anyone who has something important to say, or something useful to sell.

The dynamic tension between excellence and procrastination. Michael Hyatt started us off with a powerful presentation that reiterated the five-part framework of his book. (Incidentally, for all my students and coaching clients, that book is required reading.) Michael teaches that we must start every project by “baking in WOW”. The key to creating the “wow” experience for our readers and customers is to exceed their expectations. I came home with a long list of things I need to do to bake more “wow” into everything we do at my company. The other side of the coin is, it's easy to use this commitment to excellence as an excuse to never get anything off the ground. Seth Godin makes it clear it's important that we “ship”-that we get a project out the door and into the hands of our audience or tribe.

Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.”
-Michael Hyatt

Ken Davis offered a startling perspective on creating  “WOW”. Ken is  a best-selling author, frequent radio and television guest, and one of the country's most sought-after inspirational and motivational speakers,  Ken's premise is that WOW is “found at the intersection of pretty, practical and personal.” He shared compelling examples of this from real-life advertising and marketing campaigns. Apple Computer is, of course, the primary example of a company doing this right. Think about it. Every product they introduce has all three of those elements. Yesterday I got my new iPhone 5s. I assure you that it is very pretty, it is extraordinarily practical, and my password is actually my thumb print: you can't get more personal than that. Also, implicit in Ken's brilliant instruction was the importance of being interesting and entertaining. This is something Ken teaches at his SCORRE  conference, which I plan to attend next May.

Jeff Goins, who writes a frustratingly beautiful blog at GoinsWriter.com (frustrating only because he makes writing brilliantly look incredibly easy), inspired us with his session. I took many notes from Jeff's talk, which was about starting from scratch and building a platform with words, passion and people. My big take away from Jeff's talk was this: the key to succeeding at platform building is not about “who you know”, it's about who you can help. This includes not only helping other influential speakers, authors, and bloggers… More importantly, it's about the tribe of readers you help. Focusing on that will eventually bring you the attention your message merits.

As I stopped chasing attention, more people began paying attention to what I had to say.”
-Jeff Goins

Cliff Ravenscraft, the founder of the podcast mastermind, has produced over 3100 podcast episodes. He has helped thousands of people and organizations launch successful podcasts. While Michael Hyatt inspired me to start my podcast, Cliff provided me with the practical knowledge, tools, and advice that have allowed me to succeed as a podcaster. Cliff made it clear in his talk that the opportunities and benefits of podcasting can dramatically shift your success as a platform builder. While I am obviously a proponent of podcasting, it was only after watching clips presentation that I realized what an incredibly powerful “secret weapon” podcasting is for building your platform there is no other way to build such an incredibly intimate connection with people. And at this point in time, competition is very thin in podcasting. While I knew in principle this was true, I don't pay much attention to my chart rankings in iTunes. But while listening to Cliff speak, I checked and discovered my own podcast ranks in the top 25 in the world for business and marketing advice on iTunes! Thanks Cliff, for the reminder.

Lysa Terkeurst, The New York Times best-selling author and president of Proverbs 31 ministries, knocked me off my feet with her presentation. Lysa is a bona fide celebrity, and yet she is the most humble and approachable person you'll ever meet. I'm a bit of  word nerd, so when Lysa started sharing her copywriting techniques for writing value propositions, I swooned.  She was inspiring, smart, and entertaining. She was also incredibly generous and although she shared.

Amy Porterfield is a friend I only met in the “real world” just this week. Amy and I first met a few years ago, when she was still working for Tony Robbins. She was actually the person in Tony's organization who hired me to write copy for Tony. Since leaving his organization, Amy has built an amazing business, created one of the most successful podcasts on the subject of marketing (click here for the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast), and authored a book called Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. Amy gave a stunning presentation on her Facebook advertising secrets. I promise you I'm already at work implementing her ideas for my own business. But, that's not the most valuable thing I learned from my friend Amy. I watched her while an audience full of seasoned business professionals was held captive by her stark and transparent admission of how overwork had almost wrecked her life… and how setting a new standard has given her freedom, satisfaction, and even more success.

When you worship at the altar of “hustle” you say yes to everything because it never feels like you're doing enough.”
-Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield, you did in fact change my life this week.  I hereby renounce my worship of the idol called “hustle”.

Derek Halpern is the creator of the well-known blog Social Triggers. Derek is a brilliant business thinker, and approaches marketing with the attitude of a scientist. He dives deep into scientific research and finds ways to apply it to social media, blogging, and online marketing. He has influenced the marketing approach of thousands of business people, and host one of the top marketing podcast on iTunes. He also dresses like a boss. Derek may have been the most prepared presenter I've ever encountered (well, other than Michael Hyatt!) I was most impacted by a simple statement from Derrick: “Don't sell often, but when you do, so hard.” By “selling hard”, Derek does not mean to be and of noxious pushy salesperson… he carefully studies the desires of his marketplace, and tailors every nuance of his marketing and selling specifically to the people who need what he has to offer. Powerful stuff.

Stu McLaren is the co-founder of WishList member, the membership site solution for WordPress that now powers over 43,000 online communities. Stu is of course a great friend of mine, and we are perfectly aligned when it comes to the moral rightness of prospering in business. I took more notes during Stu's presentation than anyone else's, but without a doubt the single most powerful thing he had to say (at least in my opinion) was this: “The more money you make, the more impact you can have.” Amen, Stu McLaren.

Michele Cushatt was the MC of the conference, and her bright and cheerful personality said just the right tone for the entire event. But that was only the precursor to what had to be one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard. There was a moment in her speech that had the entire room in total silence, except for an occasional sniffle… because she also had managed to bring tears to the eyes of most of the attendees. Those tears were not generated by some trite emotional device, but by a powerful moment in which she revealed the truth about why many of us struggle with achieving our full potential. I hesitate to say more, because when you get the chance to hear Michele speak (and you will, because her star is rising), I don't want to spoil this special moment for you. Suffice it to say, Michele, if you are reading this… I have promised myself to dive deep into life. Thank you, my new friend, for how you contributed to my experience of life.

3 Powerful Takeaways From The Conference Itself.

I know I've already shared quite a few insights, but it's only a fraction of what I took away from the conference this week. When I zoom out another level, I also learned some valuable lessons from the overall conference experience. And for this learning, I have to give credit to Michael Hyatt, Ken Davis, and their amazing team, who crafted a framework that allowed this event to have  such impact. Here are three of the many learnings I gleaned from the overall conference experience.

  1. WOW is in the details.  Michael and Ken  pay close attention to every detail of this conference, from the choice of venue (it was beautiful and comfortable), to the way the rooms were set up, to the number of people staffing the event making sure things were happening happening smoothly, to all the printed materials that accompany the event. Every element was high quality, with attention being paid to design and the experience that the attendees had. In fact, from beginning to end, this can conference embodied the intersection of pretty, practical, and personal. For me, the Platform Conference raised the bar on how these things ought to be done, and you will see the results at my upcoming Permission to Prosper event in Spokane next year.
  2. Community multiplies the benefits of training. It was not lost on me that connecting people to one another was carefully engineered into the entire conference structure. There was a networking reception the night before any of the conference activities began, there was ample space between sessions for people to connect the network. We took many meals together, there are few things more powerful than breaking bread with other people to connect and bond you to one another. Is it more expensive for the promoter to provide such opportunities? Undoubtedly. Does it provide a deeper more fulfilling experience for attendees? Absolutely.
  3. Devotion to your participants is primary in importance. I have never been asked to do more as a speaker at a conference that this one. And I have never been more delighted with my conference experience than at this one. I attended every session, I was present at every networking meal, and made myself available every waking hour to meet with attendees. It was tiring, hard work… but it was so rewarding. I'm sure that sounds noble, but I have to be honest, I feel the person most rewarded was me. I met so many brilliant, loving, powerful, and remarkable people. My life will be forever changed by those I encountered and had the privilege of getting to know. I'm absolutely convinced I made several new lifelong friends at this event. The environment that fostered these kinds of relationships (not just for me, but for everyone who attended) was intentionally produced by Michael and Ken, and will be incorporated into any future events that I myself produce.

What To Do Now

How can you benefit from my notes? Pick three of my takeaways and use them.  Decide exactly how you're going to incorporate them into your business, and then schedule it on your calendar. I look forward to hearing the results you produce.

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Question:  What have you learned from conferences that has changed your life for the better? Click here to leave your comments.

 

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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