At The Risk of Repeating Myself & Boring You
Storytelling Time

The Inaccessibility Game

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia

I can't believe I'm going to write about playing "hard to get" on a blog written by women, but here I am.

HardtogetBut, it's not what you think.

I posed a question on Twitter the other day that went something like this:

"If you always attend every industry/networking event, does that send the message that you have nothing better to do?"

There are two schools of thought here:

1) Some people think if you're everywhere, you're always accessible which makes seeing you and working with you that much less exciting or intriguing - attributes for which many clients will willingly pay more. (Don't shoot the messenger, you know it's true.)

2) And, then others feel, "How you could you NOT try to be everywhere?" The mere suggestion of "playing hard to get", to them, is akin to career suicide because you just never know where your next deal is going to come from.

It's like Stonehenge, crop circles and Area 51 - will this mystery ever be solved? Ok, maybe not exactly like that, but...

...this just isn't that black and white for me.

I will admit that I "play hard to get" when it comes to some events - especially Meetups, Tweetups and all other networking events that involve loud bars and cocktails. I mean, much can really go down if you're shouting over an incessant bass line? Golf, yes. Studio 54, not so much (unless your business is entertainment or mainstream media). But then again, my company isn't building the next Web 2.0 hotness (at least not yet) and we're also not looking for funding.  We do try to make sure that we have a presence at events that matter, and for the record, me and Team xynoMedia are the judge of what matters. 

As for the events that I do attend, I always make sure that I'm present in an authoratative capacity - either I'm keynoting, leading a session/workshop, moderating, organizing/on the Board or covering the event for the many outlets for which I write...the event has to be pretty stellar (like TED or the WEF) for me to just be "in the house" as an attendee. A little while ago someone gave me the advice to not be involved in anything in which I couldn't be in a leadership position and I follow that advice to this day. Plus, being physically present at every single event can make your personal and professional stock so...well...pedestrian. You know, it's the whole familiarity-breeds-contempt thing.

This isn't business snobbery, it's just where my career is. If I can't be a leader, I'm just not going to be that into it. And, if I'm not into it, what's the freaking point? I've been like that since I was a wee one. If there was something I really didn't want to do, I used to tell my mother that she should just go ahead and punish me because I wasn't going to do it no matter what. This led to lots of "pow-pows" (as we say in Spanish), but I didn't care. I wasn't doing it if I didn't want to. I feel for all of you reading this who have children born under the sun sign of Scorpio.

Also, one of the things that I'm learning more and more everyday is that I need to be laser with the use of my time and this includes not attending events where our target market probably isn't in attendance. However, I do recognize the need and benefit of having an almost ubiquitous presence so, we make sure that we're in the loop in some way. So much so that many people ask me if I ever sleep. They tell me they see me everywhere and when pressed they will admit that it's not actually ME physically that they see, it's my handy work.

My rule is: Be everywhere with your brand, but be selective with in-person appearances.

What's your rule?

(image by Annabelle Verhoye)


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lena L. West


Thanks for the kind words!

That's an interesting way to look at it...I wasn't thinking about attending events to learn when I write this blog post...but I would have to say that many of the events that I attend, I do learn a lot. I usually sitck around and attend some of the sessions.

Conferences are just not my type of fun. I'd rather head down to Miami and do yoga on the beach! ;)

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Elisabeth Kuhn

Great advice, Lena. Thanks.

Time -- and energy -- are in very limited supply and these are great guidelines to keep in mind when considering whether to attend events or not.

My own rules? I too try to guard my time very carefully. I do go to events just because I want the information, though, or because there are people I want to connect with, and in those cases it makes little difference to me whether I have another more visible "role" or not.

Heck, sometimes I even go just because they might be fun.


My Favorite Self-Help

Yvonne DiVita

My rule? If it's going to benefit one of my clients - by teaching me or introducing me - to something or someone I don't know now, but should know, I try to be there.

I need to LEARN something at an event, or MEET someone. In my real life, I'm an introvert... I'd never leave the house, if I didn't have to.

In my business life, I go where the business is. I don't necessarily have to a presenter. But, you can bet I'm going to stand up (yes, STAND UP) and ask an intelligent question... to get noticed, if nothing else.

Thanks for this post, Lena. Excellent point.

Leigh Clements, The Mystery Maiden

Interesting topic! It really got me thinking. My rule? I will try a new group or event once. If I don't feel it's completely worth my time, I probably won't go back. I've amassed a good list of great networking events and groups to speak for this way - trial and error, I guess!

The Mystery Maiden
Shot In The Dark

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)