Psychology of Meetings

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Meetings can be a great way to generate new ideas and solve problems--if they're planned correctly. The problem with many meetings, and a possible reason for why they've built a reputation for being toxic time-sucks, is that the focus has for too long been about the meetings themselves, and not the people in the meetings.

Since meetings are all about people, we thought we'd dig into some of the latest psychological research out on what makes people better at creative problem solving, and how to integrate research findings into practical applications for your meeting plans.

Here are some of the suggestions we came up with:

1. Get Absurd

absurd When the mind is exposed to absurdity (like non-sequitors or poems composed of made-up words) the brain goes into overdrive to find hidden patterns, to make sense of something that fundamentally makes no sense to begin with.

In one study (Proulx & Heine, 2009) a group of psychology students were asked to read a story called "The Country Dentist" based on Franz Kafka's  short story The Country Doctor. The students were separated into two groups. The first group was instructed to read an even more absurd version of the story complete with illustrations that didn't have anything to do with the words on the page, while the other group read a story that actually made more sense than Kafka's original story, complete with illustrations that matched the story scene for scene.

After reading the stories, both groups of students were then given lists with strings of letters (e.g. SDFBIMAAAANDO). Some of these strings had patterns, while some of these strings didn't. Because the students in the first group were forced to find hidden meanings in the strings that weren't there, their minds were "primed" or psychologically conditioned to find hidden patterns in the letter strings. Incredibly, not only did the students in the first group select more strings as having patterns than the second group, but they did so with greater accuracy as well.

Before a meeting or brainstorming session, consider giving everyone a "creativity warm-up" by having them read a nonsense poem like Jabberwocky, one of Kafka's stories, or watch some weird YouTube videos. Also, since the study participants were good at finding hidden patterns, this would be an especially good exercise for those working in fields like data analysis or business intelligence.

2. Use general verbs when presenting problems


If you organize a problem-solving session, chances are that the problem you're trying to solve has been solved before, either by you or by someone else. The problem is that when confronted with a new problem,  people often fail to recall solutions to similar past problems.

A study  done in 1995 (Clement et al, 1995) suggests the reason why people tend to do this is that they get so bogged down by the details of a problem that it seems  unrelated to any problem that might have been solved previously.

They fail to utilize what is called "analogic thinking," a process whereby people draw connections between two similar events (e.g. problem X is similar to problem Y, so we should use a similar solution). An example problem you might tackle in a meeting is "How can we encourage website visitors to stay on our site once they've added an item to their shopping cart?" Because this problem is too specific, it will hinder participants from recalling similar solutions employed in the past. If the problem was rephrased to something more broad like "Why do users leave a website?" oftentimes people come up with many more answers and solutions, many of which can be applicable to your more specific problem. Start broad, then narrow the focus down to specifics.

3. Have meeting participants recall a sad memory while smiling


Research shows that people who recall a sad memory while smiling or people who recall a happy memory while frowning will be more accepting of unconventional ideas (Huang & Gallinsky, 2001). This can be an excellent asset in a brainstorming session, where the objective is to build upon novel ideas, not shoot them down offhand.

In the study, the participants were presented with several words and categories and were asked to judge if the word belonged in each category or not. The subjects who did the sad memory/happy face exercise were much more likely to accept unconventional categorizations  (e.g. a camel is a vehicle, garlic is a vegetable, a telephone is a type of furniture) than those who didn't. The former group was able to think on a more expansive and broad level, while the latter thought thought on a more narrow level. Narrow thinking has its uses, but not in a brainstorm. Consider giving this exercise to your team to help pull them "out of the box".

4. Cupcakes!


Not surprisingly, a good mood is another thing that research has shown to promote expansive thinking (Fredrickson, 2001). If you're planning a brainstorming session see what you can do to foster well-being with your meeting participants.

Despite objections from 9 out of 10 dentists, a surprise delivery of sugary treats just before a meeting can be a great way to put everyone in a good mood. Conversely, bad moods will tend to foster more narrow, analytic thinking. So when you're ready to shoot some holes in the idea list you've generated during a brainstorm, consider doing it on a miserable rainy day. ;)

5. Meet someplace new

The Pine Wine Bar in Seattle

The 106 Pine Wine Bar in Seattle, WA

In 2011 researchers did fMRI brain scans on subjects who experienced "novel" situations (Krebs et al, 2011). Interestingly enough, they found that the portion of the brain activated by novelty (the substantia nigra / ventral tegmental area or SN/VTA to be precise) also resulted in a dopamine release (the brain's pleasure or rewards mechanism). From these observations we can conclude that as humans our brains are conditioned to expect rewards in novel situations. Not only that, but because novelty is so closely associated to pleasure and reward, we are actually more motivated to think in novel way--especially when we encounter novelty.

If you're looking to get new ideas from a meeting, consider meeting somewhere where you haven't met before: An art gallery, or a beautiful hotel boardroom, or coworking space for example. Even a trip over to the nearest park can be enough to get new ideas to flow. If you're looking for more ideas for novel places to meet you can also check out eVenues local lists of meeting spaces. We have a pretty good selection of venues in Seattle, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other cities on the west coast. Shameless plug, yes...but we thought it was appropriate.

What are some other "people focused" ways that you can improve productivity in a meeting?


Smile Photo by Bill Sodeman

Cupcake Photo by lamatin


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When I lived in Tokyo I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of professionals who ran behemoths like Sony, Toshiba, Honda, NEC and many others. As a corporate headhunter, my job was to learn about what they did, about who they were, and to convince them that they'd be better off working for one of the companies I represented.

As you may know, Japan can be seen as a stiff and formal country, governed by rules of etiquette that most Americans would find stifling. This was never more evident to me than during a business meeting. There are rules for everything: rules for the exchange of business cards, rules for where to sit, rules for bowing, rules for beginning a meeting, rules for ending a meeting, there are even grammar rules for formal business Japanese.

Americans can break the rules

The recruiting firm I worked for hired us Gaijin because we were exempt from those rules in many ways. We spoke English in our meetings not only because it was easier for us to communicate, but because we didn't have to use all the honorifics that Japanese people were obligated to use when talking to their social superiors.

Social superiors could be anyone, a customer, someone who had a higher ranking position within a company, or simply someone who happened to be older than us. As a recruiter who often found myself talking to country managers and CEOs, usually all three of those happened to be the case. Because English was the language we chose to conduct our meetings in, however, I wasn't obligated to use certain words that would put undue emphasis on a CEO's social superiority. We could meet as equals and negotiate deals without rules of etiquette getting in our way.

As an American, I got away with a lot. Not only did I not have to school myself on the intricacies of honorific language but I also didn't have to learn the various bows for the various situations which, according to many of my Japanese friends, we foreigners never get quite right. That said, there were some customs that, even as foreigners, we were obligated to adhere to:

Where to sit

I remember when I first sat down for an interview with the recruiting firm. I went into the room and took the chair nearest the door. I didn't think much of it, but when the office assistant came back to serve me a cup of tea, she politely informed me that I should take the seat farthest from the door.

Later I found out that as a guest in that office it was my right and privilege to sit in the seat facing the door. In feudal times, it was not unheard of for assassins to stick a blade through rice paper doors and impale a guest or two. This is why, to this day guests are expected to take the honor of sitting in the "safe" chair. I've tried looking this fact up, and couldn't find any evidence for it. Still, however, it makes for an interesting story.

Business Card Exchange

There were many subtleties to business card exchange that took a while to get the hang of. Since I was an American, the routine was to first shake hands, reach into a suit pocket and produce a business card holder, or meishi ire. We'd exchange cards holding them out with two hands, thumbs and forefingers on the bottom two corners. Since they were usually the guest and social superior, I would hold my business card a bit lower than theirs.

Business cards were not to be pocketed right away, but rather to be placed on the table in front of you. If you're meeting a group of people, this can be a useful way to remember people's names as well as keep track of who does what in the company. Although I'm now in the states, I still find this to be a useful little trick.

"Yes" and "No"

One thing that I found particularly frustrating was how Japanese businessmen often avoided saying no directly. If I presented an opportunity to them, they would often act as though they were very interested when, in fact, they were just being polite.

Our headhunting firm got around this hurdle by asking questions about about a prospect's interests, background and their work history. Once we knew pretty much knew everything there was to know about them, we had a good idea which one of our positions may be a good fit for their background and interests. We knew they would be interested in what we had to offer (and not feign interest out of politeness) because we spent time (sometimes even more than 20 minutes!) asking about their interests first.

In the States, people are much more direct about what they want and don't want, but that's not to say the same "mask of politeness" phenomenon doesn't happen here as well, albeit to a lesser extent. I have found that spending time knowing people's background and interests before asking for anything on my behalf has proven extremely useful.

What about you, what have you learned from meetings in other countries?


If you haven't yet, be sure to check out some of our meeting spaces.

Photo by Danny Choo.


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There are many ways that event planners can make their jobs run a bit smoother, and be more effective in their day-to-day jobs. Sometimes, these efficiencies can mean the difference between a successful event or losing a client. A great complement to an event planner's life is technology. There are a few startup companies that have recently been launched that should definitely be on the watch list for event planners. Here are the top 5 startups for event planners to watch (in no particular order):


1. GetPromotd is an event planner's dashboard that can help with automating event listings online. This makes the online promotion effort seamless for event planners, and they will be able to focus their energy on other important details such as planning the event itself. Eved 2. Eved is a platform that brings event planners together with suppliers and vendors to allow for a competitive marketplace that is both efficient and convenient for users. This offers suppliers a way to gain a higher visibility with event planners, and helps event planners have a wider range of suppliers to choose from.


3. Smorepages helps event planners create beautiful online fliers for their events. Create a one page website with videos, share buttons, and, of course a button that goes straight to an Eventbrite signup page. Pibster 4. Pibster is a web service that helps promote products and services through a reverse online auction. The event is simple: post a product or service to Pibster and any time someone tweets about it the price of the product is reduced $1.50. Not only does this help promote your event, but it also encourages people to buy promotional tickets to your event before others snap them up.


5. Eventasaurus combines social networking, online promotion and event registration all in one. This offers the event planner the ability to kill three birds with one stone. To an event planner, efficiency is effectiveness.


6. (Bonus!) eVenues is a online marketplace that allows meeting planners to book small and medium sized venues for impromptu meetings. They've got boardrooms, conference rooms, galleries, theaters, even dojos and dance studios bookable by the hour or day. They're currently focused on creating a great selection of listings on the West coast and currently have choice event spaces in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.

We'll probably be talking more in-depth about these great startups in the coming months. Until then, happy Tuesday!

Binoculars Portrait by Gerlos

Feng Shui Compass

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Feng Shui is an Asian tradition that uses energy as the foundation for understanding life forces to design living and work environments that promote harmony. It concentrates on promoting a positive energy flow while avoiding or neutralizing destructive energy flows. In literal terms, "feng" means wind and "shui" means water. In the Chinese culture, gentle wind and smooth water bring good health and good harvest. Harsh winds and stagnant water are associated with disease and famine.

While Feng Shui has often been criticized by skeptics as a pseudoscience, the basic principle behind it, that environment affects our well being, does have a wider level of acceptance. In 1984, for example, a researcher by the name or RS Ulrich conducted a study which found that post-op patients placed in recovery rooms facing windows recovered much faster than patients in recovery rooms facing a brick wall. If we take this and other studies like it into consideration, it does seem that our environment influences our level of well-being (and possibly our behavior) to some extent.

Although Feng Shui laws governing the placement of hexagonal mirrors and fountains seem a bit dubious, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe that Feng Shui would still have some good ideas about the placement of tables, chairs and other pieces of furniture to create an optimum environment. This got us to wondering what Feng Shui had to say about the layouts of meeting and conference rooms. We did a little digging, and this is what we found out:

Where You Should Sit

Feng Shui Positions of Power

Positions of power (1 = most powerful)

The position of power in any meeting and conference room, as far as Feng Shui is concerned, is in the rear of the room. The rear of the room presents a good view of the rest of the room, thereby putting you in a position of power. The location farthest from the door holds the most power, according to this ancient art. Sitting with your back against the wall while having a clear view of the door provides the optimum position for your desk or meeting table no matter what size room you're in. Not only does it put you and your employees in a position of power, it increases everyone's concentration, focus and productivity.

On a practical level, this makes sense. Sitting with your back to the door, a place where someone could approach you without you knowing it, has the potential to make anyone feel uneasy--especially in feudal Japan, where stabbings were known to happen through rice paper doors. Because of this, it's customary for guests in Japanese business meetings to be seated at the back of a room, facing the door. Ambushes and assassinations notwithstanding,  should you yourself conduct a meeting it might be good see what you can do to seat guests near the back of the room so that they can feel comfortable and secure.

Table and Chair Placement

As far as small boardrooms are concerned, Feng Shui suggests that you use a table that is proportional for the room size with all chairs facing the door. With a round table, leave the part directly in front of the door free of chairs so energy flows freely into the room. Arrange the chairs so each participant has enough room to move freely. Cramming the chairs together will increase negative energy and cause negative emotions such as frustration, claustrophobia and irritation, hindering productivity.

This seems like common sense. Chairs in front of the door make it awkward for people entering a room, and makes it especially uncomfortable for the person sitting in front of the door. Also, it's no secret that people like to have a little elbow room when sitting down at a table. These seem like sound recommendations, regardless of whether you believe in energy flow or not.

Large Event and Conference Spaces

In Feng Shui, a large  space increases positive energy by allowing participants more room to move, if the table and chairs are not too large for the room area. Good Feng Shui involves placing an oval or round wood table in the center of the room to "enhance positive energy requirements." Avoiding the sharp edges found in traditional L-shaped tables promotes new ideas and growth. Place chairs so all backs are against a wall to increase productivity, focus and communication.

Soker Studios Event

 A round table dominates the center at Soker Studios in San Francisco

We think round tables make sense because you don't want want people edging around corners to talk to people. Indeed, most hotels banquet halls are set up with round tables as a default. As far as the chairs against the walls, this may be a good way to get people up and moving since they won't be tempted to sit down at a table.

Event Halls

For an event hall, Feng Shui believes that using full spectrum lighting gives the most natural appearance to promote the natural progression of new thoughts and ideas. Having audience members sit in comfortable chairs with enough room to take notes and take part in the discussion promotes positive energy. Presenters need to sit at an oval wooden table with their backs against the wall to let energy in and enhance communication and productivity.

The lighting suggestion seems like a no-brainer. After all, no-one enjoys the buzz or glare of fluorescent lights. Does this "promote the natural progression of new thoughts" though? Who knows? That might be an interesting topic for future researchers like RS Ulrich to study. As for the oval table for presenters...that seems a little odd. At least in our experience, presenters usually sit behind square tables and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that.

Color Psychology

Finally, in Feng Shui color plays a key role in stimulating ideas and promoting positive energy for all room sizes. Walls painted either a soft green or terracotta will energize conversation of people in the room and encourage new thoughts and ideas.

Do blue lights really affect mood?

While there is still not enough research to support it, there does appear to be a correlation between mood/energy and color. The city of Glasgow, for example, installed blue street lights and witnessed a decrease in crime in the areas illuminated with the new blue lights. Studies have also shown that colors do effect moods, but that how colors effect people's moods seem to vary widely on the person. So should you go with soft green or terracotta? Possibly, but we think that table and chair placement is likely more important than color.

What do you think? Do you think it's worth the trouble to take Feng Shui technques into consideration when choosing a venue or planning an event, or would it be too much trouble? Is it all pseudoscience, or might Feng Shui have a basis in human psychology? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!


If you're looking for event spaces or meeting rooms on the West Coast, be sure to check out our Seattle event spaces as well as our spaces in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Lantern Photo by Eddie Van 3000

Note: In my efforts to include all the useful tips for event bloggers I could think of, before I knew it this post came to over 2400 words! Please consider bookmarking this post as a resource you can refer to whenever you're stumped for ways to get your event blog going. Also, please consider following us on twitter and our Meeting and Event Tips facebook page for more useful info as it comes.  Enjoy! --Kenji

If you're promoting an event or conference, chances are you've heard that having a website and blog can be a great way to drive awareness and (hopefully) registrations. There are plenty of  great guides out there on SEO, social media and blogging.  The question is: where do you start?

The answer is simple: Start with your strengths. If you're blogging to promote an event, you have advantages over other bloggers that are not only easy to leverage, but can jump start your traffic and drive event sign-ups.

Advantage #1: Video Content from Speakers

Before you get carried away with social media strategies or SEO techniques know this: 80% of a blog's success is dependent on its content. If you're running an event blog, chances are that you'll have access to videos of speakers giving talks at past events, and what can be better than exclusive video content from experts? Posting these videos on your blog can be an excellent way to build traffic and links back to your website. When you do, ensure that you consider these tactics:

Self-Host Your Video Content

While it's certainly easy to host your videos on YouTube or Vimeo and then embed them directly on your site, you may want to consider hosting your videos on your own site.

Why do this? Well, let's say you're running a blog for an annual wombat trainer's conference. You have an excellent video by a world renowned zookeeper on the proper diet for wombats. If you upload this video to YouTube and then embed the video on your blog, Google will determine that the original source of the video was YouTube and will thus rank higher than your site in the Search Results for the keyword: "Wombat Diet Video." This shouldn't be the case.

If you expect a lot of people to be searching for videos on wombat nutrition, then it would behoove you to host the video on your own site. One great tool for doing this is Wistia, a platform that allows you to host your videos on your own domain. Not only does it do that, but it provides transcription services so that you can post the full transcript of the talk or presentation directly to your blog. Search engines are smart, but they're still not smart enough to determine just how relevant to wombats your video really is. The text transcripts below the video can be a great way to help the nudge search engines in the right direction.

Wistia's starter package runs for $23 a month so it isn't cheap. If you plan to have a lot of event related video content on your site, however, I highly recommend checking them out.

Optimize Your Video for the Web

When filming, camera operators and video editors don't always take into account the fact that their videos will be seen on laptops and mobile devices. Although wide angle shots can be good to establish the size of a venue, remember that on an iPhone screen the speaker will probably be less than 10 pixels high. Make sure the camera stays in close to a speaker.

Save Your Best Content for VIPs

While you might be tempted to  publish all your video content on your blog, it's important to ask yourself one question: Are you converting? Are you adding more subscribers to your newsletters or getting more people to sign up for your event?

If you're getting thousands of visitors to your site and the answer is "no," you may want to think of ways you can limit access to premium content as a way to drive more conversions. Think about reserving your best content for a select group of people like your newsletter subscribers, members of your organization, or people who have signed up for your upcoming event. It's actually quite easy to do this. Wordpress, for example allows you to specify whether links are public, private or even password protected so that you can effectively control who is able to see what content.

Finally, if all you want is to get more traffic, consider using  a service like Pay with a Tweet. Pay with a tweet is a very simple service that limits access of content to those who have tweeted about it, thus driving traffic and awareness.

Advantage #2: Guest Posts From Speakers

You may not be an authority on wombats, but the speakers attending your wombat conference probably are. Be sure to leverage that authority by asking your speakers to write guest posts for your blog.


If you have a lot of famous wombat experts contributing guest posts, you may want to consider using the rel = author markup on your blog. Let's say that George Georgeson is the world's foremost expert on wombats. George happens to be speaking at your conference and not only that he has agreed to write a guest post on your event's blog. The post title is "How to Train a Baby Wombat" which, in this hypothetical situation, also happens to be a high traffic keyword.

Since your blog is new and doesn't have many links, your post about training baby wombats may not rank very high for such a competitive keyword.  Because of this, your post probably wouldn't get too many clickthroughs. But since you've been savvy enough to implement rel=author on your page, what do you know...George Georgeson's face appears next to your article on the search engine results page.

It would look something like this:

Any wombat enthusiast would be able to recognize George's face right away and would most likely click the article written by him before the others, even though they might be ranked higher. Implementing rel=author on a blog requires having a page on your blog with a list of contributors as well as requiring each of your contributors to have a Google+ account. For more detailed instructions on how to implement rel=author, please check out this resource.

Advantage #3: Your event/conference is already well known

Listen for your event name or brand

It's quite possible that your conference is already well known by folks who happen to be influential online. It's important that you find out who these influencers are, and what they're saying about you. My favorite tools to keep track of online conversations are:

SocialMention: SocialMention is a great tool to keep track of who's saying what about your brand. If you enter "West Coast Wombat Conference" into the search box, for example, the tool will return nearly all tweets and blog posts and some facebook posts that mention the conference. I check SocialMention for eVenues at least once a day so that I can follow up on anything said about us, either positive or negative.

Topsy: Topsy is one of the most accurate ways to track tweets about a blog post you've recently published. To track the tweets all you have to do is type and you'll have a handy, up to date look of how your blog post is doing. Here's an example of how one of our recent blog posts did on Topsy

Google Alerts: Although you'll usually be able to monitor most mentions of your brand using the above two tools, Google alerts can be a good way to be notified of new blog posts that mention your brand, especially if you don't have time to check social listening tools every day. Just go to Google Alerts, and type in any keywords relevant to your brand and you'll be notified of any new blog posts about your event.

Listening, of course, isn't just a one way street. It's important to respond immediately to any mention, whether it's positive or negative. It's amazing how many brands and companies fail to do this. If someone says something good about your wombat conference, thank them and perhaps provide them with a discount code for the ticket (Eventbrite allows you to set this up pretty easily).

If, on the other hand, someone tweets something negative about your conference, it's also important to address this just as quickly. See if you can get in touch with whoever tweeted about you and see if you can resolve the issue by moving it over to a private email conversation.

Finally, if someone writes a blog post endorsing your event, go further than just sending them a quick "thank you" email.  Make sure you get the best links possible too.

Most likely a blogger will link to your website with the official name of the event or conference, something like "West Coast Wombat Conference 2012" While this is an OK link, it could be much better. After all, the keyphrase mentioned above is so specific that you'll probably rank #1 for that phrase on Google without any links. Not only that, but the only people who would use that keyphrase in their searches would know about your conference to begin with.

It'd be much better if you got a link to your home page with something more generic like "Wombat Conference." Links like these are signals to the search engines that your blog and website is relevant for that keyword. The more links like this that you get, the higher you'll rank in searches for people looking for wombat conferences, but don't necessarily know about your wombat conference. Since these bloggers are already endorsing your event with a link, it shouldn't be a problem to get the wording of the link to be changed slightly.

Use Social Bookmarking Sites to Promote Your Content

While it would be nice to just create great content and expect people to visit your website, that sadly isn't the case. You need your content to be shared and tweeted by as many people as possible--not only because it brings more exposure to your event blog, but also because tweets and shares are becoming an increasingly important signal of quality to search engines like Google.

It's quite possible that your wombat conference is already well known among wombat enthusiasts. But even if 2012 is the very first year of your conference and no one has heard of it before, that doesn't mean that the online wombat community won't want to help you out to promote your great content, if indeed it truly is great.

The first place to go when looking for the right influencers to share your content is followerwonk. Followerwonk is a twitter bio search engine that finds the most influential twitter accounts in a certain field. If, for example, you want to reach out to wombat trainers on the west coast, do a keyword search for "wombat trainer" on followerwonk and limit your search to major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Once you've found these people, engage with them. Follow them on twitter, comment on their blogs and tweet and share their content.

Utilize Online Communities

Building a respectable network on Twitter, however, can take some time. Even though you may have tried to reach out to these "Twitterati," they may be too busy to even notice you. This is where online communities and forums come in.

One of my favorite places to share content is reddit. Reddit is a social news sharing site that has over 2 billion (!) visits per month. People post links to their favorite content, and depending on how many votes that content receives, it has a chance to get featured on the front page, potentially driving hundreds of thousands of visitors to your site.

The trick to reddit is to find the appropriate subreddit that represents a group who would be interested in your content. Subreddits are basically what they sound like: mini-versions of reddit focused on a single topic. There are subreddits for cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, as well as subreddits for music, architecture, cats, and believe it or not, wombats.

Subreddits can be a very powerful way to deliver content to the right audience. An article I had written about secret spots in Seattle, for example, reached the #1 spot on the Seattle subreddit and sent thousands of visitors to the eVenues blog. It was at least a good third of the Seattle subreddit's 12,000 subscribers.

It's very possible, however, that the subreddit which covers your conference's topic won't have many subscribers. At this writing, there are only 7 subscribers to the wombat subreddit. This doesn't mean, however, that you can't post your content on a subreddit that focuses on a tangentially related topic. George Georgeson's article on how to train a baby wombat, for example, could probably do well on a subreddit like pets.

Along with reddit, there are other major social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. Each of these sites serve very different content and different audiences, and it's important to know what's appropriate for each. A guide on choosing wedding dresses, for example would probably do better on Pinterest because the audience is mostly women. Funny list posts, on the other hand, might do much better on Digg or StumbleUpon.

Furthermore, there are many niche social bookmarking sites that might better serve your audience. Hacker News, for example, is almost exclusively focused on programming, entrepreneurship and startups. BizSugar, on the other hand, is better suited for those running small businesses. DesignBump is almost exclusively for designers while Tip'd is focused mostly on finance topics. Know which sites give you the best ROI in terms of traffic and conversions and do your best to develop your presence in each space.

Finally, it's important not to post content that is solely self-promotional. Be sure that your content is useful, interesting or entertaining and is a match for your audience. Also, don't post content until you've "lived" in those online communities for a while and get a feel for what succeeds with each one. When you do, you'll be able to tailor your content precisely for those communities. If you do all that, you're bound to succeed.

What about you? What advice do you have for event bloggers on leveraging their advantages?


P.S. If you have yet to book a venue do check our listings out. We have a great list of Seattle meeting spaces as well as spaces in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If you have any questions about this guide please feel free to email me at kenji [at] evenues dot com.