5 Takeaways from the 2016 Revolve Conference

(Me with Kimberly and Molly from The Brandon Agency after finding Fitz, the missing gnome.)

Business conferences are pretty much hit or miss, and when you’re in start-up mode, dropping a couple hundred dollars on a ticket needs to be worth the investment. This year’s Revolve Conference was just that. Not only is it quite literally in our backyard, but the conference brought together a couple hundred business-minded marketing and design professionals for two-full days of strong presentations that offered a bit of inspiration for everyone.

Here are my top five takeaways from the event:

1. Stop selling for something and start standing for something.

When I saw Robert Prioleau’s topic “Selling for Those Who Hate Selling,” I knew that was a workshop I’d be attending. As a recovering wallflower, sales is something I’ve learned to love over time. Prioleau’s presentation was pretty straight forward: people are going to hire you based on mutual trust and respect. He said to stop trying to be all things to all people and instead, share your energy to find positive matches instead of focus on closing sales (a good reminder to any business owner).

2. Take some time to define what success means to you.

Erik Reagan’s workshop about the realities of failure was among my favorite. We’ve heard plenty of times that failure is a part of the process, but Erik shared personal experiences to help relate to how and why failing can change the direction of your business. Reminding yourself that failure is a one-time event, not who you are as a person, will help separate the action from the attitude. The biggest takeaway is pretty simple: define what business success means to you and then map out what you need to do to get there.

3. The art of conversation is not about you, even though it depends on you.

I knew I’d like Keisha A Rivers Shorty from the first 30 seconds of her presentation. Her energy and enthusiasm reminded me a lot of my business partner, Amber. In this workshop, Keisha explored the formula to success as defined by art, science, psychology, style and substance. Together we explored communication as the transformation of all interactions surrounding your business. Especially in an industry where most communication is via email, this workshop was a great reminder to question and clarify (never assume) and to compel action within my communication vs. simply conveying information. As Keisha put it, “to advise is not to compel.”

4. Think like a rocket, not a sprinkler system.

This #GirlBoss, Terri Trespicio, was a fantastic speaker. Her presentation was interesting, inspiring, and I love a gal who’s not afraid to drop the f-bomb in front of a bunch of strangers. Terri gave solid advice on leading new business pitches with who you are as a business vs. what we do. She suggested to start by asking the bigger questions. Not just about your topic, but let potential clients through their internal issues and then explain how you're going to solve that problem. In short: lead with what matters to the other person. 

5. No matter how many times they asked, people weren’t sharing on social.  

Considering the nature of the conference, I was surprised that myself and maybe four other accounts were quite literally the only ones using social to promote their attendance. By day two, the Revolve team got a little desperate and were nearly begging us to post to Instagram or use the #RevolveConf hashtag on Twitter. Matchstick won a free book and a dual charter from Twelve South for exemplary social participation.

Overall, I can confidently say that the conference was money well spent. Did I walk away feeling like I learned a lot? Maybe not. But I was inspired to hit the ground running, take a second (and third) look at certain internal processes, refresh other new business strategies and refine my communication style.

Were you at the Revolve Conference? I’d love to hear from you! Tweet us your takeaway

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Matchstick Social is a social marketing + advertising firm headquartered in Charleston, SC with a satellite office in Oklahoma City, OK. Matchstick specializes in social media marketing, optimized social advertising, effective measurement of social initiatives and helping start-ups gain social currency by establishing their digital brands.