Not too long ago, I received an email from a LinkedIn connection asking for a face-to-face meet.  Since starting GRAPE, I’ve received several such offers. Sometimes I regret having them since they tend to involve a selling proposition.  Nonetheless, I’ve made several great friendships from such encounters. So I guess I don’t regret them in the end. Intrigued with this request, I accepted. And moved to meet my connection at my favorite hangout – The Urban Mill. Its a great little place on Michigan Avenue. It has comfortable chairs and is quiet enough to get some work done. And of course, a great selection of baked goods (essential).
Having only seen my connection’s face on LinkedIn, I moved throughout the cafe trying to find him.  “John Potter?” “Yes” I said. “Glad to meet you, Curtis Burdette”.  The discussion that followed was relaxed and enjoyable. Curtis had quite a bit in common with me – and had ambitious plans for making his ideas happen. I was glad to have met him.  What surprised me later was how often I would hear his name mentioned. Frequently. By many different people. He was certainly putting in the leg work to get to know the GR community.

More recently, I found out that he was starting an organization entitled Starfish Conferences.  Its his vehicle to help people learn practical business communication tips. For instance, he has put together a workshop series on interpersonal branding (starting July 31). Or as he explains it, “the way you identify yourself as a professional to the people you meet…and how others receive your message”.  I suppose in more concrete terms its akin to helping people better communicate who they are and what they do. That can be an Achille’s heel for alot of people (including myself when explaining what web analytics is!).  This practical learning is achieved at both the individual and small group level. Participants lucky enough to get an “Aha” moment are invited to share their thoughts with others.

I believe these workshops are quite a worthy endeavor. Especially for those out in the job market. And Curtis has carefully selected several worthwhile facilitators to conduct these workshops: Kristen Hartnagel, a professional sales speaker/trainer/coach who will invite participants to “look inward at their motivations and develop behaviors that help individuals to reach their goals”; Tamara Rosier, a leadership and team effectiveness coach who teaches individuals how to enhance their personal effectiveness; and Curtis himself, who reviews the language individuals use to describe themselves “whether it involves one word or a mission statement”.

I plan to be there and I hope you will be there too. I’m looking forward to finding out how I can present myself in a way that’s a cut above others – professionally speaking. Again, the workshop is July 31 from 7:30-11:55am. It will be held at my stomping grounds, ITT Technical Institute in Wyoming .  If interested, you can register here ($40 registration covers a light breakfast, a conference bag, and all three workshops). Note that the address for ITT Tech is 1980 Metro Court SW, Wyoming, MI 48519

John M Potter