I BEGAN my Keynote presentation at the 2014 Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Mike Levin Leadership Conference with that ubiquitous photo genre that has come to define the digital age – THE SELFIE.
Before I began my hour long talk on Travel Brand Storytelling I told the audience of 100+ at the Venetian in Las Vegas that I needed a moment to do what bloggers do when they want to remember a moment, take a selfie. I did the unexpected – turned my back to the audience, told them to smile as I framed my face with my iPhone and snapped a pic.
This simple gesture immediately let me connect to my audience and change their state of awareness to one of active participation (it was the end of a 2 day conference and folks were starting to look a little tired…). Stopping to take a selfie also let me get conformable on stage and help calm whatever nerves I had about presenting to such a stellar group of high-level travel and hospitality leaders.
Mostly, I took my keynote selfie to illustrate the main point of my presentation before I even began; that creating original content for social media publication is more action than theory – that at the end of the day you just need to capture authentic media in the moment and tell a story. Social storytelling has many layers and there are a million ways to create, curate and publish digital stories – selfies are one of them.
After I snapped and shared this pic I felt 100% in my element – ready to take a deep breath and share the passion and work of my life – Travel & Story.