Mike Starr joined me in Washington DC for the last few days while we engaged with public affairs specialists from giant corporations to all branches of the military and from all across the globe. The experience was humbling to say the least to be around the level of professionals that we were privileged to be with. The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) asked us to join the summit and explain to the audience what we were doing with MilPages and bring information to the people who’s job it is to disect it and push it out to millions of people.
Both, Mike and I, had spent the evening before hand in my hotel room trying to figure out how everything would be presented and figuring out how we were going to address soft areas. We knew this was absolutely the first time we had presented MilPages to a huge audience that actually was highly interested in what we were doing. No matter the nerves from the night before, we prepared for Monday’s workshop that included only a small portion of the audience that we received on subsequent days. The mood was tense, becuase we were lacking the basic information to provide a high quality speech which included knowing your audience, having your information properly setup, and not letting the audience control the direction.
Needless to say the workshop wasn’t as smooth as we would have liked, but it was undoubtedly a success because in the end we certainly reached our audience. The first time out taught us some things and we went back with lessons learned and went to prepare for the second round. Our goal was simply to get the message out there that we were developing something great and we were coming with some great new opportunities to reach the military. We think we peaked some interest and hopefully built professional relationships and possibly some personal ones as well.
On day one we really got to meet some terrific people that asked us everything from who we are to what the heck do we think we are doing! Every one of those questions needed to be asked and we went back to define those for day two very quickly.
Knowing what we were now facing, we reconfigured our slides, took the critiques and comments the audience gave us from day one and did it the right way. The audience had doubled and the information streamed flawlessly. We were even able to have a wonderful networking lunch so we could connect with other professionals and make connections that could benefit everyone attending. Needless to say that was the most powerful session of the entire time we were there.
I think my favorite part of the morning was the briefing from Major Juanita Chang from the U.S. Army. She had about an hour in which she showed the Army’s success through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter while in the public eye. She is a PA professional for the Army and obviously loves and knows her job extremely well. A few highlights were noting that the Army had broken 1,000,000 fans on Facebook which is just amazing on it’s own merits. Also, through social media the Army has seen its own images and video go viral across the internet to show off important things such as the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb still being walked even during a hurricane. That really sent a strong message about the dedication of our military. So kudos to her for what she is bringing to the table in the social media world.
The entire day brought several different speakers into the summit. Some of the speakers belonged while others probably were received as well for one reason or the other. The summit was still a great success and hopefully the other attendees felt the same way. Day two ended the summit for us, while the attendees did attend a final day but unfortunately it was time for me to get back to my computer to continue to improve MilPages and see my family.
I think the trip was absolutely time well spent and I think we will start seeing a build up of interest on MilPages in the short coming. So this post is just a small highlight of what we did and to thank everyone that was there and engaged with us. We appreciate the support that was offered and hope that it will materialize so MilPages can be more than what it is today!