July 5, 2011


Social media workshop speakers (click to enlarge)Does social media feel as normal to you as using email or a smartphone? That's my reaction.

I started blogging in 2007 and speaking about the benefits of social media in 2008. I'm often asked for how-to help but this is impractical to provide.

The solution? Hands-on bring-your-computer training by experts.

I arranged THE Social Media Workshop for the nonprofit Association of Independent Consultants (AIC). I "volunteered" to be VP Programming from Dec 2010 to June 2011. This role involved auditioning speakers and selecting 9 in total during my term.

If you'd like to organize or attend a practical social media workshop, here are ideas.

The Topics

The four hour workshop started with an explanation of the why of social media. The challenge was finding a credible, unbiased keynote speaker who doesn't sell social media services. Who better than Sean Stanleigh (LinkedIn profile), the Report on Small Business editor for The Globe & Mail? He actively uses social media and has contact with many entrepreneurs. Sean agreed to participate. He used a Q&A format, which was effective.

Next, the focus was on the how
  • hands-on LinkedIn: improving your Profile with Paul Van Wart (LinkedIn profile) of Paul 2 The Max
  • hands-on Twitter: applying the basics with Stephanie Goodman (LinkedIn profile) of Venture Accelerators
  • creating content: learning how to get going and keep going with Susan Corcoran (LinkedIn profile) of Indigo Oceans (not hands-on)
Combining why and how worked well and might suit you or your group.


If you don't have time for a workshop, you can get an overview in 45-75 minutes. To avoid bias or pitches, select a speaker
  1. with consistent persistent generosity and
  2. who doesn't sell any social media services
Attendees who need help can hire a social media expert afterwards (or attend a workshop).

Where's Facebook?

Facebook was not covered despite the current hype. The value remains unclear to me, especially for small businesses selling services. Even so, I auditioned several presenters and rejected them all.

Depending on your audience and the time available, you might want to include sessions on Facebook and/or newsletters.


As a supplement to the afternoon workshop, Julia Hidy (LinkedIn profile) spoke after dinner about
  • ePress kits
  • how to use social media to find and retain the best clients
And so ended my term as "speaker finder".


The 2011 Speakers for AIC (click to enlarge)PS Here the other 2011 speakers for AIC (click to enlarge). If you're looking for excellent speakers, do consider: Donna Messer (networking), Lisa Kember (newsletters), Adeodata Czink (etiquette) and Susan Gregory (mind mapping)

PPS I didn't select myself. That's another example of "volunteering".


  1. ...and although Promod does make it sound like he was dragged into the position kicking and screaming all the way (which he may have been!)...he did an excellent and outstanding job in finding us speakers throughout his tenure (and we were very sorry to lose him).

    His final "show", the Social Media Workshop, was a top-notch effort and quite entertaining and really informative for all us who attended. In fact, AIC is now in the Twitterverse as a result (@aiconsult).

    Thank-you Promod!

    Lawrence Fox
    President, AIC

  2. There are too many social media "experts" out there, but you guys definitely know your stuff. I'm glad to see real experts still holding workshops for those in need.

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  3. "Facebook was not covered despite the current hype. The value remains unclear to me, especially for small businesses selling services." I don't understand. What part of over 500 million users and cheap advertising doesn't appeal to you?

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