Jan Knight Information Professionals Recharge at AIIP in Denver
Jinfo Blog

Wednesday, 19th June 2013

By Jan Knight


Jan Knight spotlights some of the best sessions from the recent AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) Conference, an annual event which brings together speakers and delegates interested in the unique business development and marketing needs of independent information pros. The highlights range from social capital to socialisation (tips for better small talk skills) and a provocative talk on the Power of the Unpopular. Other practical tips were gained on primary research skills, using newsletters for sales generation, creating superior websites and improving negotiation skills. 


The theme of the 2013 Annual AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) Conference was “Rocky Mountain Recharge” and the city of Denver in April was a wonderful backdrop for speakers, workshops, networking and socialising with other information professionals. I was one of over 100 attendees of sessions focused on the somewhat unique business development and marketing needs of independent information pros. While some speakers provided nuts and bolts tips for daily business, others were more motivational and thought-provoking in nature.

Some highlights include:

Aaron Templer: the Roger Summit Award Winner this year is a strategic marketing communications consultant who spoke about “Leading in a Social World” where what matters is social capital – the strategic context behind what drives the social web. According to Templer, the social web does just not equal marketing, but instead can create an environment where people can “connect, inspire, encourage and engage” others rather than just “convince, manage, direct and incentivise".

Debra Fine: Debra is a small talk expert who created a fun environment as she shared her own story of going from an introverted engineer to a nationally known speaker and author.  A very engaged audience participated in a short exercise where pairs of people had to determine some unusual things about each other in a couple of minutes.

As a predominantly introverted group of business owners, interesting and new ways to connect with others are often popular. Who would have guessed that at least two participants “owned cats with irritable bowel syndrome"!? A key to making small talk not only palatable but fun and successful is to “assume the burden of the other person’s comfort” and to think of “every conversation as an opportunity for success”. From the laughter in the room and the queues to buy her book, I’d say THIS conversation was a success.

Erika Napoletano: is a self-described, red-headed writer and blogger who shared blunt and powerful advice about branding and marketing. Her talk could be described as provocative both in style and content and truthfully most of the audience, including myself were seen to be sneaking peeks at her tattoos that were not only easily visible, but in fact highlighted by her choice of clothing.

Erika both shocked and wooed the audience with a discussion of the Power of Unpopular - the idea that we don’t all have to act the same, look traditionally professional or resist cursing in public for our brands to be powerful and memorable and for us to create a loyal following. At least I THINK that’s what the point was. You kind of had to “be there” and, as she says, people remember moments and how they make us feel. I do remember this session but I’m still not sure how I feel about it!

On a somewhat different note, four very practical sessions were led by veteran AIIP members. Beef Up Your Primary Research Skills provided wonderfully practical tips on how to approach telephone or in-person interviews while How My Newsletter Makes Me Money was presented by a member who shared metrics that showed her online newsletter had been successful in bringing in clients in addition to building credibility. Is Your Website Working For You? covered all topics related to professional websites including building, rebuilding, hosting, SEO, content development and social media marketing. Lastly, Getting Paid What You’re Worth: Painless Negotiation Skills, offered tips and techniques for negotiating effectively and painlessly with clients about budgets and rates.

Conferences allow people to network and learn, be educated and motivate and it appears that the annual recharge in Denver met the bill for most of the attendees. Now it’s time to really think about what and how we can institute the ideas and processes that resonated with us.

The FreePint Report: Research in Non-Text Sources features an introductory editorial from Jan Knight. The report explores resources which exist outside the traditional publishing model - from infographics and online presentations to grey literature.

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