Monday, April 14, 2008

My San Francisco Adventure - Continued

I always get excited about bringing my Ripple concept to a new audience and it was an absolute honor to be tapped to speak at the RSA Conference. I was somewhat of a last minute addition to the RSA Conference program which was technically a bummer for me as I didn't get added to the conference's official website or program and didn't get to walk around and mix and mingle with the conference attendees...which as you can imagine is something I like to do very much. I was asked to lead what they were calling the Networking 101 session. If you were to look at it, which by the way is the way I choose to look at it, I kicked off the whole conference as the first official speaker and technically opened for Michael Chertoff, Malcolm Gladwell and Al Gore and an overall impressive list of about 250 speakers. How's that for illustrious company?

Anyway I arrived at the Moscone Center and ended up having some delightful conversations with the people coordinating the behind the scenes activities for the conference. Talk about connection points I had noticed that one of my points of contacts that I had been given had a New Mexico area code so when I met Julia we had plenty to talk about as she now lives in my old hometown of Albuquerque. Julia ended up being my "Voice of God" announcer when I took the stage and she and her crew were unbelievably fun and easy to work with. I certainly hope the connection to Julia will blossom into something more as she has a neat theater project she is working on in Albuquerque and her drive and passion is infectious. I look forward to helping her any way that I can.

As you can imagine those of you who know my take on networking, I spoke about the power of Rippling and how it is, in my not so humble opinion, a better strategy for people to make the kinds of connections they really want to make for their life and business. I talked about my how finding connection points by not using the sucker's choice of "So what do you do?" types of questions but having newer more interesting questions can open up a world of possibilities. I really fought hard through my remarks to help people understand that they need to humanize the process of connecting with others first and be open and willing to see what happens. I demonstrated the process by putting them all through a facilitated Ripple which seemed to be a huge hit with the 750-800 people in attendance.

It was the connections I made afterwards that made the whole trip worth it for me. To hear people come up and say, "Thank you for giving me permission to be myself and do things my way," or "I never could have imagined I would find out so much about a complete stranger...your questions were incredible." Or simply, "Great job I learned a lot. Thank you!" Those kinds of comments and the many I have received post-conference through the BLOG or via email just put an huge smile on my face as you can imagine. Heck Julia and her production crew were apparently even Rippling amongst each other from the back of the room....how cool is that?

I finished my presentation and because I was a last-minute addition I didn't have the kind of badge that would allow me to mix and mingle during the happy hour session that followed mine. At first I was disappointed but still left the conference smiling ear to ear because I knew that my presentation had at least been well received and I have high hopes as to what it might bring back to me in terms of new connections and opportunities.

Exhausted but still on a high from presenting I headed back over to the Grand Hyatt to watch the NCAA Men's Final between Memphis and Kansas. There I sat on the 36th floor watching the blanket of darkness draw over the bay. I could see Alcatraz and had a gorgeous view of the downtown area. I sunk into my comfortable seat by the window and had an amazing sense of calm and happiness wash over me. I had come to San Francisco and done what I love to do....spreading the power of the Ripple to any and all who would listen.

Just then....about seven people piled into a table right next to mine..."Hey you're the Ripple guy right?"

Indeed I am.

4 comments:

Arlin K. Pauler said...

Steve:
I really like your moment of, "Hey you're the Ripple guy right? It seems that for that moment you really got the fullness of what your work – teaching Ripple Connecting - is all about. I am pleased and excited for you.
Keep up your “Great Work”, Arlin.

mitch matthews said...

Steve -

Keep the updates coming buddy! I'm excited for you! This is a great (and well deserved) opportunity! Can't wait to see where the next ripple takes you! Keep it up buddy!

Steve Harper said...

Thanks Arlin. I so appreciate having you in my life my friend. Next visit to California we must get together!

Ripple On!!!

Steve Harper said...

Thanks Mitch. It's been way too long. I had emailed you a while back ....we need to reconnect for a phone catch up one of these days!

Love all the stuff you got going on too! You inspire me brother!

Ripple On!!!