#likeminds - Karren Brooks teaches us to be here, now

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Karren Brooks

What is more important: the inventor or the invented?

Karren Brooks is kicking off her session with questions. In every conference there must be a session that’s hard to liveblog. This is proving to be it. She’s throwing a lot of ideas at us, but I can’t find a thread in it yet. Here’s the sorts of elements she’s giving us: She’s inspired by people she works with. She’s a connector by nature, and she loves networking. If she teaches us something, we need to be able to take it away.

And now we’re staring into each other’s eye. Wow. That was an uncomfortable experience. But that’s a connection – and if you go into a meeting, you need to make a connection with someone. (That was a “presence drill” we did, apparently). If we’re present in a space and connected with the people they’re with – they’re more likely to buy whatever you’re selling. The most important thing to master is yourself, because you are the primary product you sell.

“Become an advanced being,” she says. “If you’re not present, how can you ask other people to be so?”

Where your attention goes, you money goes. Your attention is your personal currency.

That was…interesting.

Update: Just had a chat with Karren, and her colleague Barry Fairburn. We had a really interesting discussion about both public speaking, and the lack of psychological elements in people’s discussion of social media. I’m idly wondering if that session would have worked better a a “fireside chat” style session, rather than a talk.

Reporting Back

  • Sometimes we forget that learning happens all the time, and we should think of mentoring as a normal part of business life. People who become mentors don’t always know how to do that.
  • Having outside influences into a moment can be helpful, but the “doing two things at once” element that things like Twitterfalls can prevent us really being in the experience.
  • The current generation will grow up with continuos partial attention, and perhaps it’s up to us to teach them presence.
  • There’s a tension between creating stuff and just being there – enjoying a physical, chemical moment with people. (This habitual live-blogger is feeling uncomfortable right now.)
  • Sometimes you should edit experience before you shout about it.

View Karren’s Presentation

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.