AWC National Conference Recap: Become a Person of Influence

Melissa Hahn, President

I was delighted to attend the AWC Professional Development Conference: Empowerment Starts Here, in Dallas in September. I was equally pleased to see two board members, Kelli Jessup and Molly Hall, also attend. The sessions brought us new ideas for communication, thought management and leadership, plus a glimpse into emerging technology that will support communications efforts (or leave you in the dust!).

Let me give you the briefest of summaries on the technology session. Shel Holtz, Regan Consulting Group, explained that the communications industry is increasingly tapping into:

  •  Live video streaming
  • Short captioned video (because social media users want video to automatically play without audio)
  • Long-form entertainment
  • Documentaries
  • Vertical and square video (the former videographer in me cringed!).
  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented reality
  • Mixed reality
  • VoCo (voice replication).

The real game changer, according to Holtz, is blockchain. If you haven’t heard of it, it is “a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.” That’s according to one dictionary definition, which is the best I’ve found. Holtz believes blockchain will have a greater impact on society than the creation of the internet did. That’s a huge impact.

It will potentially take business from banks, changing how you conduct transactions and allowing you to determine what personal information is available for sharing. But don’t look for it next year. Holtz says while some major corporations are building blockchain, it will take five or so years for this to become reality. 

Molly Hall, President-Elect

“The AWC National Professional Development Conference in Dallas, TX certainly lived up to its title and theme “Empowerment Starts Here.”  All of the sessions and presentations I attended addressed issues like leadership skills, becoming a person of influence, being bold for change, using controversy as an opportunity to make a difference in social causes, and much more.

“The session on emerging technology provided valuable insight into the apps and programs that will definitely affect our careers in communications. This was my fifth AWC National Conference and I’m wistful that I couldn’t stay for the entire time (work required that I travel on to another conference).  But I certainly got a great deal of value from the time I was there and highly recommend all communications professionals plan to attend the next one.

“It’s a tremendous value for the cost – much less than most other professional development conferences – and you’ll gain not just knowledge, but inspiration, new friends and an expanded professional network. That’s empowerment!”

Kelli Jessup, Jobs Chair

This year was my first time attending the AWC National Conference and I was blown away with the amount of valuable information this conference provided. Everything from the headliners to the breakout sessions featured great speakers with great information.

One of the workshops I chose to attend was “Becoming a Person of Influence” by Dana Vogelmeier of Vogelmeier Consulting. Dana is from the Bloomington-Normal area and is an expert on creating a positive workplace culture and consulting on leadership development. I chose this workshop because social media and influencing have become some a big trend in today’s marketing world and it isn’t going anywhere soon. On average, we influence four people a day, so how do we build on that to become a person of influence? You become a leader, to increase your influence you must increase your leadership ability. Easier said than done, right? We all want to be leaders – but getting there is the challenge. Here are some key takeaways Dana provided to become a leader and influencer:

  • Build creditability and Relationships – be an expert and take the time to build relationships ahead of time
  • Who do you already influence? Who are the top 5 people you spend the most time with? This is your proximity circle – do these people influence you? Surround yourself with likeminded people
  • 7 different ways we influence people (worst to best)
    • Force – the absolute worst way
    • Intimidation
    • Manipulation
    • Position (supervisor, boss, mom, dad)
    • Exchange with peers and colleagues
    • Persuasion
    • Respect – the highest, best way
  • You have to know what motivates other people to influence them
  • Investing the time – Prepare, Practice & Repeat

Lastly, Dana closed out her workshop with this, “If your intentional in your growth, you will outgrow everyone.”