Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Journey to Ingersoll

The Elmhurst Inn  & Spa in beautiful  Ingersoll Ontario-  what a perfect place to share information  with the  Workplace Planning Group board of Directors  of f on a weekend retreat.

I would be going there to explain “How Email and Social Media  Work Hand-in-Hand to Grow Business”, this being a  critical part of my program covering online strategies. The trip would take an hour  and forty-five minutes. It  looked to be a gloomy Saturday morning drive, with rain in the forecast-but at 8 am  there wasn’t  a drop in sight.

 This would be my first visit  to Ingersoll though I have been London for numerous conferences, as well as Woodstock for a wedding. Ingersoll is right in the middle of the two. Getting out of the city is  always a great thrill for me: the new sights and sounds of the world, the expansion o f infrastructure, from roads to new buildings, and transportation trucks going east and west on the 401 with plenty of products headed for various destinations, all showing  that the economy is alive and well.

Whenever  I’m on the road  I like to play a game that involves looking  out for  great licence plates and trying to figure out what they mean. Even though I have a CD playing most of the time my  visual focus is always on the road,  On this trip it was a surprise to see  black Nissan zipping by with the place WUT FUN. He was zipping by too fast to honk! I saw three water towers and lots of horses and truck  carrying new 2012 Mustang GTO’s  (heavy and expensive payload)

Of course I had my trustworthy  GPS system guiding  my every move, but in this case  “Kate” remained silent most of the trip (yes it has name-but that’s a story for another time). However as   I neared my destination increased  Kate’s volume  so she can guide me to the Elm Hurst Inn, and as soon as I had exited the highway she announced “you have arrived”

 “Where?” I asked. But of course , she didn’t answer.

So I continued  straight and stop at a local gas station to look at my back-up map which is when I realized  had just passed the entrance. I went  into  the gas station to find out where the centre of town was  then doubled back to locate the hotel. Since I had arrived bit early I  headed  back centre of Ingersoll to get a coffee, stretch and get mentally prepared for the presentation.

Tim Horton’s was the busiest place in town that morning the drive-thru was busy and walk-in traffic was making  it a hectic place for everyone to get  their  morning breakfasts. But , hey,  I won a free donut, so it was worth it! (Mind you, I had to drive all the way to Ingersoll to win it)

I started back to the  Elm Hurst Inn. This time taking the opposite way, I found the exit easily.
On arrival , I walked to the main desk and was advised  that the meeting  was in the basement in the Heritage door, so I  took a mini elevator one floor down and made my way there.   To my surprise there was huge portable screen and projector  set up with lots of space to speak and move around.

I proceeded to meet some of the board member of the Workforce Planning Group and get  acquainted with  how they wanted to use social media. There group  included a real  cross-section of types: some were social media- savvy users, others were online but very limited experience. At  the table to the  left of where I was standing they all had  blackberry tablets (“tech corner” is what I  called them), few others had Blackberries  many  were comfortable with social media.

Had handed out my business cards and advised everyone that they could connect via LinkedIn (many of them were users) Twitter and Facebook.  At one point one of the participants following me and had one my followers  following them, great to see on –line networking happening quick!

I had 90 minutes to present my material, and my presentation had three parts to it.  After each  section there  was a  brief Q &A regarding the topics and there were some  great questions being  asked.  We got into  how to use :Constant Contact with Social Media”  to do a successful email marketing campaign, and how content is an important  way to engage and interact  with your network. We  shared key strategies , and the   two –way conversation is one  of the  goals  that is crucial to growing and managing your business.

There were also  slides   showing  how populated the social scene is and pointed out that it was not easy to find the top three on the slide (they were there). The  social scene  will become even more populated in the years to come, and it take time to see how effective these new social templates  become.

At the end of the presentation I received  a gift card  for a local restaurant, courtesy of the board;  an add a bonus one of the participants had a referral to give me regarding opportunity to write article on social media for the local paper (awesome).

As I head back to Toronto it was exciting to visit a new place in our great province and to see some new people and admire what a great country we have.

I have loved the journey through  Toronto, Kingston and Ingersoll over the last few months. The moral of the story for me:  enjoy the journey and admire the destination we learn and see new things everyday.

Jim Pagiamtzis sharing insights on raving fans

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