In March, I’ll be moderating a day-long track at what’s shaping up to be Europe’s biggest ever conference on wearable technology – which is a perfect proof point for the statement that the letters PR stand for much, much more than just Press Release. At the Wearable Technology Show in London, I’ll be following the long-established practice of what some companies call “eating your own dog food” (Google in fact just calls it “dogfooding”) and others eloquently put as “drinking your own champagne”. What this means is that I’ll be using various instruments in the PR toolbox to promote OnPR’s experience in the fast-growing area of wearables.
By getting up on stage and actually presenting, moderating, and perhaps even peacekeeping during a day-long agenda, I will be showcasing that the agency can walk the talk – because as every PR person knows, it’s easier to stand in the shadows and dish out advice than it is to actually climb up into the limelight and sparkle.
Another vital tool is storytelling. Between now and the conference track on March 11 (event day 2), I’ll be reading up on the sub-topic of wearables and performance sports to make sure that I (at least sound like I) know what I’m talking about.
It’s always a thrill to be on the other side of the tracks for a change – but also slightly nerve-wracking and a great reminder to make sure that I practice what I preach. This means putting aside plenty of time to prepare for a rigorous day. I’ll be preparing talking points and reading the bios of speakers and panelists to ensure that I’m able to introduce them properly. I’ll also be aiming to meet everyone who’s part of the track in advance, so that I can: a) learn how to pronounce their name properly, and b) put a name to a face, so that if they go AWOL, at least I’ll know who I’m looking for.
I’ll be expecting something to go wrong on the day – anyone who pretends this won’t happen is looking at the world through big blue eyes – and in some ways, it will be a relief when, for example, the mic stops working, or perhaps a presentation freezes, mid-slide. In fact, I should take bets on when – not if – this will happen.
Wearable technology is a hugely hot topic in the media right now and a big crowd is expected in London – so many delegates that the event is being split into seven paid tracks, covering the key areas of wearables. I’ll be moderating the track on Performance Sports, and through the day, welcoming a stellar line-up of speakers including many CEOs. These are the people with whom I love working, behind the scenes, to prepare them for their big moments on stage – and I’ll be able to tell in a few moments who is properly prepared, and who could have invested more time in getting ready. Because you only get one chance to make a first impression.
By Simon Jones