Those who know me well will be aware that I can ricochet from overly-conservative and cautious to stupidly feet-first. Thus it was with a conference I attended yesterday. When asked if I wanted to speak at a conference in [Hamburg](http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=53.5652777778,10.0013888889&spn=1.0,1.0&q=53.5652777778,10.0013888889 (Hamburg)&t=h "Hamburg"), I agreed without bothering to check in great detail what the conference was.
And thus, I found myself doing the opening keynote at the [Social Media Forum special B2B media day in Hamburg](http://www.socialmediaforum.de/programm/special-fachmedien.html), a conference otherwise conducted entirely in German. And how much German do I speak? Err. None.
And you know what? I had a *great *time. But a busy one. I couldn’t liveblog it because the sessions were being live translated for me by the speedy [Stefanie Kleebauer](http://twitter.com/steffi_k) of organisers [Kongress Media](http://www.kongressmedia.de/). So I listened, I looked at the slides and I picked up the core information through Skype chat. And I expanded on those ideas in conversation with people over coffee and lunch. And nearly everyone I talked to spoke excellent English, putting me to shame.
But I learnt a surprising amount, and I hope to go into that in more depth in a later post (and yes, I am aware I still owe some Social Business Summit posts. They will get done…). But my main lesson, I suppose, was that there is still plenty to be learnt about community-building and development, even in people from a different language and national culture from your own. And, at a point where I’m figuring out that our own strategic view of some forms of community is way too shallow, that was a very useful revelation indeed…
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