Finding Value at SXSW

by Jeannie Walters

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It’s the last day here in Austin for SXSW Interactive. I’m taking a breath before heading to another session. This isn’t a typical post for me, but I just wanted to get this out there.

I plan to post more about insights when I return. But one thing has resonated with me here. Value is not given to you without some work on your end. I have made it a point to meet people wherever I can – the hotel shuttle, the elevator, the women’s room! But what I saw a lot of people doing was staying very attached to the posse they arrived with, staring at their smart phone, and missing huge opportunities.

Some sessions were underwhelming, but I made a decision to behave unlike the usually overly polite me and use my time for value. If one session wasn’t working for me, I got up, walked out and hunted for the one with a crowd of engaged people. I discovered some amazing people and ideas this way. But for heaven’s sake, I attended panels! (I even earned the “Panel Nerd” badge on Foursquare!)

I also took advantage of the technology and scanned the QR codes of people without cards, used the wireless and online scheduling, and basically tried to get every cent of value I could out of my attendance. In other words, I’m a grown up here. I’m a business person with business goals. I won’t deny I’ve had fun and enjoyed some yummy barbecue, but free beer was not on my list of priorities.

So while it’s easy to point to outside forces, what have you done to add value to your experience lately?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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