I just came across a website that claims to feature the Top 100 "Voices that Shape Opinion" - Grab a quick look here: http://say100.saymedia.com
It reminded me of a few years back when I was attending the 99% Conference and happened to strike up a conversation with Tina Roth Eisenberg, a sorta-cool, sorta-famous-in-that-indie-way designer and blogger. She is one of the Say 100 - http://say100.saymedia.com/design
Three things that made an impression on me when I met Tina:
1. She seemed like a nice, unassuming, down-to-earth person when chatting 1-on-1. She was no big deal to me because I wasn't one of her design groupies and she simply seemed like an interesting person among the 300 or so equally interesting people at the conference...
2. During this 10-minute coffee break, about a dozen people came up to her - interrupting our conversation - with that "Oh my god, it's HER" look on their faces...
3. She interrupted OUR conversation each and every one of those dozen times to greet her fans - mostly strangers mixed in with one or two seemingly more meaningful acquaintances or friends...
So it became clear to me that among a certain subgroup of this conference, Tina WAS indeed a big deal.
But she lost some points in my book by trading superficial fandom for the possibility of a new connection - even with a "nobody" like me.
Truth is - put me in a different room, and among an equally teeny-tiny minority of folks, I am the one who is a big deal. But I make damn sure NEVER to treat a conversation partner the way Tina treated me.
I've had a 5-minute conversation with a new friend at similar events while two, three or even four people start stacking up in my peripheral vision wanting a word with me. Know what I do? I ignore 'em. Politely but with determined focus, I continue my conversation with the person who was gracious enough to share THEIR time and attention with me.
I'm a big believer in the notion of "love the one you're with" in a professional networking sense. Do anything else and you seem like a needy, egotistical goober who suffers from false celebrity syndrome (FCS - it's deadly).
Here's my challenge to YOU - in the rooms where YOU are a "big deal," how do you treat your NEW friends, acquaintances, and networking connections?
Do you NEED to collect on every last drop of all that ego satisfaction?
Or are you willing to put your ego aside and act like a "regular person" when you may - or may not - be considered as such in the real world outside that room?
If you're truly a big deal - regardless of the scope of that statement for you - are you kind, attentive and humble? Or is that just an act until YOUR fans start lining up and asking you to have their picture taken with you?
It matters much more than a list of who matters.
What do YOU think? Please leave your COMMENTS, thoughts and experiences below...