PodFest 2024: Lessons and Success Stories from the Expo Hall

Welcome back to Branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding. We just got back from the Podfest Multimedia Expo’s 10th anniversary event and there is so much to talk about.

We gave y’all a sneak peek into what our booth was going to be in an earlier episode, and now we’re able to share how successful it was and what we saw from some of the other expo hall exhibitors. The most important element that led to our success was the interactivity of our booth, and we’re talking about how that worked and what mistakes we saw others make by not taking the time to craft an engaging experience.

After gathering dozens of business cards, we also share our opinions on the cards we were given and the mistakes that detracted from the impact those cards could have.

Podfest was SUPER and we’re looking forward to another year of building brands that stick. Go check out our new social profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok (@stickwithbranded) and give us a follow.

Key Takeaways:

1. The significance of having an interactive and memorable booth. Creating an engaging booth and offering interactive experiences can lead to increased brand recognition and user-generated content, such as photos posted on social media with our logo.

2. The importance of branding consistency and taking the brand seriously. The Podfest conference made us take our brand seriously and enhance our online presence, demonstrating the importance of professional branding for any business.

3. Attention to detail, including properly designed business cards. We highlighted the challenges and common mistakes made with business cards, emphasizing the importance of legible text, correct contact information, and professional design.

Transcript
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What is happening, everybody? I'm Larry Roberts. And I'm Sara Lohse,

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and this is Branded your comprehensive guide to creative branding. And on

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this episode of the podcast, we're gonna be talking about

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Yay. We just got back from the podcast, and,

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man, it was a wild, Wild ride. I

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I'm still I'm still recovering. I haven't slept. I I

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need a coma. I actually was sitting at my desk last

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night, Watching the new He Man cartoon on Netflix

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because it's amazing, and I was only on episode 2, and

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Had my little legs propped up on my desk, had my little whoopie wrapped around

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me. I was all cozy and warm and had my headphones on and just he

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made it, and I was toast. That's how tired I I I think it was,

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like, 8, 8:30, something like like that, and I was just

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g o n e, gone. Like, conferences are a

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lot. And this time, it was even

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more so. Because usually, every time we go to Podfest or most

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conferences, we speak. So we have to there's one day that we have to

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be really on and be all prepared, all of that.

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But this time, we spoke and sponsored. So

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for the 1st time at Podfest, we had a booth, and you're

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just constantly on your feet, constantly

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moving. I probably burned, like, 4,000

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calories a day just at the booth. It was so just

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so exhausting. Yeah. Maybe I need to step on the scale, see where, where I'm

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logging in at. That'd be kinda cool if I dropped a few l b's. That'd

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be awesome. But you're right, man. It was just it was organized

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chaos, And some of it was really just pure chaos, but Yes.

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Because the booth was amazing. Mhmm. I had a great time with our

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booth. You did a tremendous job coming up with the idea to design it as

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a photo booth with this amazing inflatable

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flashing lights backdrop that was just Super cool and

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got everybody's attention. And, you know, I think one of the things too

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is, man, that that expo hall was just slammed. Yeah. It

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was constantly packed, and we had, like, lines of

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people wanting to take photos. And It was really

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cool to see how much it resonated with people though, because

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we were really excited about our idea, and we it was like

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Layers and layers of puns. We talked about this on a previous episode,

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but we are we are building brands that stick, and our logo is a

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bunch of stickers. So we have you Come into our photo booth, take a

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photo of yourself, and it gets printed out as a sticker.

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And our sticker logo is on it and everything. And

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people, like, they got it, which was really cool. They I

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would say, like, like, yeah. You get a sticker, and they're like, oh, Because it's

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like your logo is a sticker. Oh, like, I see, like, brands that stick. That's

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so clever. So they really got it. And

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Considering, like, we talk about branding and we're, like, claiming

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to be these branding experts, having people actually see, like, oh, no.

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They're legit. Like, they get it. Yeah. Like, that was really,

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like, I guess, like, confirming of, I mean, what we know, but now,

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like, they got it. Now we do, and now we know we know. So now

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we're good to know. But no. It it was. It was super cool to see

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that. And every time you told somebody what our booth

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was and how it worked, I don't think there was a single person that that

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that didn't go, oh my gosh. That's oh oh, are you kidding me? It's

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a sticker? Oh my that is amazing. They were just really, really blown

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away by the concept, and everybody had a ton of fun. We had those

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inflatable instruments and inflatable microphones, which Those were a big

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hit since it's a podcast conference. It just balloons

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everywhere. You name it. It was a fun and festive environment.

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And, I mean, they didn't give out awards for the best

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boost, but I'm ordering 1 for us on Amazon. I think we should.

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1 present. We should definitely order

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ourselves Yeah. The number one booth at Podfest for 2024.

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I mean, I don't know that there was even another competitor, and I'm being serious

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now. There was one of the booth that was kind of engaging and

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interactive, and that was the Mopod guys. Always. But, I

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mean, they they are leaders in the conference industry, And

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actually, they helped inspire us take our conference game to the next

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level, and I mean now they cheated. They they they cheated big

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time. They were over there. They'd had a They had a whole beach theme set

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up. They had a light brown rug that looked like sand, and they had beach

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chairs. They had a igloo, ice chest sitting there.

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Ice chest was full of beer, and I think on day

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2, I happen to walk over there, and they're passing out

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shots of an $1800 bottle

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of Japanese bourbon. I'm like,

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guys. How can some how can bourbon cost that much?

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It must have been aged dramatically. I don't know.

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Back to our last episode, but, no, that's not worth it.

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Well, you gotta you gotta keep in mind that those guys, they party like rock

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stars. I know. So, I I guess it's worth it to them,

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but, aside from the cheaters that were passing out booze,

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I think Love you guys. Yeah. We we do love you guys because you guys

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are Larry helpful and and, enjoy working with you and seeing you all the time.

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But but, yeah, I think other than those guys, we we definitely had the

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top notch booth at the spot. I think it's interesting

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how many people just don't take

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advantage of the opportunity of an expo hall booth.

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And it's exact like, it was exactly what when we were

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talking about our idea and planning it out, Everyone did

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exactly what we said we didn't wanna do. Yeah. It was just

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tables with stuff that had their logos on it and,

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Like, T shirts, which everyone loves a free T shirt. Yeah.

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But, like, we have plenty of them. Yeah.

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I mean, what do you when are you giving away gardening Roberts? You know? Or

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or Yeah. Like, it's my pajamas t shirt. You you it's a shirt that

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nobody cares about. They don't think twice about it. Yeah. I'm not, like, I'm not

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wearing that in public. I'm wearing it to bed. Yeah. Yeah. If you just take

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a few extra minutes, like, really put thought into it and Make something

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that's on brand and that's original and especially something

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that is interactive. Like, that's what we found to be the most key element

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was that it's interactive. And, yes, we printed out their photos as

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stickers, but we also they get the photos. It gets emailed to them.

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That's part of the lead generation funnel is that we get their email address in

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exchange for their photo, but the even the photo in their

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email has our logo on it. And now all

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over social media is our logo. The we've

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gotten so much user generated content from this

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booth because people like to post photos of themselves. Mhmm.

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And a lot of times, you take a lot of photos at these events, but

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you don't take photos of yourself. Like, you're just taking photos of other

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people. So when you actually get this picture, that's super fun. You got

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to approve it before you send it to yourself, so you know you like the

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photo. You're happy with it. Yeah. So they're all over.

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People are posting them to their own social media. They're posting them to the Podfest

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groups. Whatever it is, Everywhere I look, I see our

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logo. Yeah. You can't beat that. Like I said, it's

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I I think a lot of it too, it's just the color. You know? It

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was bright. It was vibrant. There was different colored lights that we

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had flashing. We had strobe lights, but we had everything going on. And

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if you're looking at some of the booths that are around us and some of

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the traditional booths that you See at these things you know, if you think about

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the pipe and drape, that's the framework of a booth, and the

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curtains that literally separate the booths, 99% of the

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time, it's just black curtains. Mhmm. And then somebody's taking their logo

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and draping it across that black curtain. They have a black table

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cloth. There's zero color. There's zero interest. It's

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just the product. No disrespect to the gentleman that was next to us.

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He had a very technical booth, but he had nobody getting eyes on

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his booth. Well, 1, because we were stealing all the attention. Sorry about that. Not

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sorry about that. But at the same time, He didn't go above and beyond

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to get any attention or any eyes on his booth. Had a really cool

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product. You know, he had a portable recorder and actually a whole series

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Portable, podcast recorders, which I that was?

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Yeah. He's look. You were next to him for three and a

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half days, and you go, oh, is that what that was? That's exactly what it

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was. I I I stepped around the corner to see what he had going. But

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I lent him a tripod. You did what? I lent him a tripod.

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That was about it. Super cordial of you there. So

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But, I mean, that that's kinda where it's at, and and I think that's the

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the lesson that we learned walking away from this was that you have to do

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that that one thing, whatever that thing is, to stand out. You have to be

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engaging. You have to throw some color at people. You have to get their attention,

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and you have to have somebody at your booth

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all the time. And And if it wasn't for the 2 ladies that helped us

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at our booth, we never would have been able to pull it off. Shout out

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to Ryan and Amanda. They are Absolutely amazing,

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and we no. We we would not have been able

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to do without them. Not a chance, and they were amazing

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representatives, not of our booth, but of our brand. Super

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cordial, super friendly, super helpful. Just they were super

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engaged. I'm using super a lot, but they Super job. I'm

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super impressed, and I'm super thankful. And, hopefully, someday, we'll have the

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opportunity to work with them again because It was just a super

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experience overall. New brand tagline is building super brands that

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stick. Super Branded. What? Super brand.

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Yeah. So No. But it really

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it it it was great, and I think it was

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interesting because It was the 1st time we really debuted

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this brand at Podfest, and Podfest is an environment that

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We, I say we, but it's really you, like, already are

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known. So that was really interesting

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too to kind of come in like we have our own brands.

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People recognize my brand, like favorite daughter, because I debuted it last

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Podfest. Right. That was when I like, my public launch was Podfest, And

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you're the mayor of Podfest, so everybody knows you, but it was

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cool to have people recognize the new brand and

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then put the pieces together of, like, oh, this is you guys.

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Yeah. Yeah. And yeah. And and it resonated.

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You know? I saw that it resonated. And, You know, it's funny because we see

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the evolution. You and I have been working together now for, I don't know, a

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little over a year, and I'm not sure that people really saw

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what When the heck was going on with those 2?

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You know? But once they saw what we were doing and they saw how legit

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the booth was and they saw how legit Our approach to branding

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and everything was they're like, oh my gosh. And it was almost

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like an instant acceptance and instant respect that

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we gained from within our own community, and that was that was really

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I don't know. It was reassuring and reaffirming, and it just felt really good overall.

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Yeah. And having this booth also kind of lit a fire

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under us to start taking ourselves more seriously

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too. Like, We had our podcast website, listen to

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Branded, of course, for the show, but we had been using,

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like, the branded brand for, Like, as a company, and we

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didn't have a website. So getting ready to go into Podfest,

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we, like, launched a new website. Everyone go check it out, work with Branded.

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But, like, we launched a new website. We launched social social media handles,

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and we migrated our podcast off of PodPage and onto

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our WordPress. Press. And we just, like, really started to

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take what we were doing more seriously because we would take

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and favorite daughter very seriously and Branded was just kind of, a

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label that we were using, that was kind of just a culmination

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of our 2 Branded. But I love that being

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put into that position and having to really go all

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in on branded Yeah. It

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Expedited that process. So now, like, it's

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we showed that what we do is legit,

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to our audience, but it also kind of showed to us that it is as

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well. So that I think that was a really good thing for

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us. Yeah. Like I said, it was just kind of a solidifying moment

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that, that demonstrated that we are here, and we're here

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to play, and we're here to play to win. And Everybody recognized

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that, and it was just super cool to experience that. And I

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think it just drove home the lessons that we know what episode is this.

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34, 35 of the 38. Yes. 38. Wow. I think it's

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38. 37 to 38. I like to dial those numbers back a little

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bit. Yeah. I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of whatever episode

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number this is as well. But, you know, it it's it just

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reinforces that all of the advice and All the input we've given on

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the podcast, these last 30 5 ish episodes

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works. We proved it, And we walked away with a

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tremendous number of potential clients,

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potential relationships. We made new friendships. We reinforced

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our brand strength. We reinforced our personal brands, and I I just

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can't I I can't say enough about it because it was just

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really, Really cool to see all of that come together

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in the way that it did. Yeah. I think any like, for

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anyone listening, if you're going to be doing something like this, if you're gonna sponsor

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a conference, you really have to remember that it's

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not About you, it's about your brand,

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and do everything that you can to pull that brand to the forefront.

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You're, Yes. You're sponsoring, and that gives gets you the attention,

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but what are you gonna do with that attention? How are you gonna

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capitalize on it? And I've helped other people out

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at their booths in the past, and they didn't have any ways to capture email

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addresses. They didn't have the proper signage for people to really

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understand what they were doing. And I guess I kind of was able to

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learn from mistakes I'd seen and make sure that we had everything in

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place. So we walked away with, like we we had just

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created our email list, and we have 300

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people already on it because of everything we put in place to

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capture those email addresses. Yeah. Yeah. That's true. Yeah.

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We said this on the last episode, but it's not enough to give them

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your contact information and give them a business card. You need to get

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there so that you're in control because Oh my god. You can't Sorry.

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You triggered me. Oh my god. You

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said business cards, man. You know, we did the We did the giveaway for

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a podcast audit, and we had a business card bucket per se. I

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don't know if it was a bucket, but, what do we use? Something to capture

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cards. It was a container. Container. Yeah.

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Sounds sounds better than a book. Be a fishbowl, but I it's it's what I

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had. Sounds better than a bucket. I'll tell you that. Going

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through those business cards, man, we need to do an entire we need to do

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an entire episode on business cards, Sara. Seriously. Yeah. Y'all step

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your game up. I'm sorry. We we talked about our business

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cards and how seriously we take them and the effort that we put in, the

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money that we spend, but some of the business cards we were given

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We're so terrible. I don't even I

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some of them, I don't understand the purpose. I'm I I you know? And we

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were going through the business cards because, of course, You give us your business card.

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Well, now we have your email address and Yeah. Like, we need the point.

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Yeah. Yeah. Well, we do Nothing is actually free,

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guys. No. No. But now we get to email you from

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time to time. Yeah. But the thing is, man, I was going through these cards,

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and some of them Okay. I don't have the best

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eyesight and Full disclosure, these are bifocals.

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Okay. These are transition lenses,

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so, you know, I should be able to see up close. And I'm sitting

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here looking at his card, and I'm experiencing

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physical pain Yeah. Trying to read

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this 0.2 font that is on this business card.

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Seriously. When y'all are designing your business cards, Set up

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what if it's Canva, whatever it is, set up the,

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like, your design canvas to be,

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Like, the to scale? Because it will tell you then what font size

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you're actually using. Yeah. And if it's, like, 4,

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maybe Up it a little bit. I would say don't go

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Lohse, like, 8, and even that's kinda small. I mean, the whole purpose

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of a business card is what? To exchange contact information.

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If we can't read it read it, there's no contact.

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I mean, if I didn't really want these email addresses, like really want them, I

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would've looked at that and went, nope. And Some of them didn't have email

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addresses. Some didn't even have email addresses. No. They didn't have email address. What

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am I supposed to do with that? I I don't know. It just had a

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name and even not even, like, a person's name, like, their brand name.

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Yeah. Turn it over, and there's nothing on the back. There may

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be a QR code that says scan this, but why am I going to scan

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it? I don't know who you are, And if I'm not attached to

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or, feel a need to inquire about your product or service,

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I'm definitely not gonna take the time to send it out in the QR code.

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Man, it's there's just a a lot to learn there. Yeah. So, I

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mean, the people whose didn't whose cars didn't have email addresses, I'm sure I

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could have, like, Scanned a code, gone to their website, and found an email.

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But if you give me a card that doesn't have an email, I don't take

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that as permission to email you, so I don't do that. Right. And

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so then, like, I don't like, that kinda sucks for us because then we're losing

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out on that contact. But then it also it's like, How many people have you

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given this to as, like, a, hey. Reach out to me, and they can't? Yeah.

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Yeah. So, like, it's it's not good. No. We

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maybe we need to, like I said, do an entire episode and break down the

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different Yep. Within this card. Yeah. I mean, I posted

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recently, like, All the mistakes I made with my business card in the past

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and, like, how I fixed it and everything. If y'all aren't following us on social,

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we do have social handles now, so stick with Branded everywhere. Go go

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follow us. So many calls to action in this episode. I know.

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Go to our new website. Go to our website. Go to our social. Do all

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the all the things that we tell people not to do. Yeah. So we're talking.

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We have a book for sale, and I got a book for sale too, and

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we all have all this good stuff. For the person

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who stole our workbook off our table, Venmo us. Yes. Congrats.

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Congrats to the person with the sticky fingers. That gets a bit of a

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problem, on a couple of different fronts there at Podfest, we got our books

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stolen right off of our table right Yep. Under our noses, you know, because it

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was so chaotic. You could just pick it up and walk off, and you're probably

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not gonna be. My my PayPal email address is [email protected].

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Send us that $25. Yes, please. That'd be great.

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But, seriously, some like, back to the business cards, they some of them didn't have

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email addresses, but the part that just, like, hurt my soul the

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most Where some people spelled their their email addresses wrong.

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Yeah. Dot con. Yeah. I had I had a dot con. I

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had, m a m instead of m a n. I

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had someone including www in their

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email address. That's no. That's your URL. That's not your email.

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Like I was like, hold on, man. Now you're getting a little boujee. You can

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still put the triple dub at the front of your URL, but if they they

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did that on their email address. Email. That's That's pretty funny.

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I had dot o g instead of dot org. Oh. And I'm like, I know

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that like, there's a lot of different dots at this point. There's a million. You

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can put dot anything. Yeah. So I I actually did go to their

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website to see if it was correct. It wasn't. Yeah. Yeah. No.

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Not like a dot o g. You know what I'm saying? I'm

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still a lowercase g.

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But now I'm a big g. Anyways, now

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That was kind of a highlight too, man. The nineties Larry, that Saturday night was,

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was off the hook. You and I maintained our consistent

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branding because, what, We were freaking what do you call them? Twinsies?

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Twinsies. Alright. I call them twinkies, but you call them twin That's a different

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thing. No. It's not a different thing. That's twink. A different thing. That's a different

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thing. It's it's we it's not us. But, no, we had it

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was a nineties theme party. We showed up In our, like, Saved by the

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Bell print hoodies and shirts, and my

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shoes lit up all week. And Oh, that's true. Never oh

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my god. I've never gotten so many compliments on a pair of shoes. I know.

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Everyone's like, where did you get those? I'm like, Amazon. Where do

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you get everything? Like, just look how do you find them?

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Like, look up light up shoes. Yeah. Dude. I did not

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do much research. But still, you you have that creative

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thought process which makes all the difference in the world because, you know, I remember

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back in the day, people go like, well, I I when I was trying to

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write code when I still worked at corporate, they go, just just Google it and

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get the answer to, you know, what you need to write. I'm like, I don't

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even know what to Google. It's a how am I supposed to Google something, and

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I don't even know what question to ask. But you you know what what to

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look for. You know what products to find. You know, From a creative

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perspective, what to see what's out there, and I think a lot of people still

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struggle there a little bit. Yeah. No. But I was getting so many compliments on

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my light up shoes, and Be it. Like, it's

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Cinderella is proof that a good pair of shoes can change your

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life, and I think I I think we've proven that again.

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I think so. I think so. So well, yeah, I

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I think we just proved that if you're consistent in your branding and you're creative

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and you create An engaging And do spell check.

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Welcome space, and you do spell check, and you use fonts that are big

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enough, And you have light up shoes, and if you have a nineties party dressed

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like you're safe from the bell, then you'll end up having a very, very successful

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conference Regardless of what that conference is.

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We've also proven that we're getting really bad at ending episodes. Oh, is that

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where we're at? We're at the end. I don't know. Were you I don't know

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if you attended the end of my session. I think you left early, but I

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ended. So pulled away. Yeah. I because

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I spoke at because I I spoke at Podfest. I ended my

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episodes literally saying I my episode. Ended my

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presentation literally saying, I don't know how to end presentations. I I did see that.

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Yes. I was there for that. I sure did. And I don't know how to

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end presentations, but that's it. Yep. I'm like, when

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peep people don't believe me when I say I just blackout when I do public

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speaking. Like, no sane person would have said that.

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And then the the MC comes in. She goes, okay. Well, that's good. I guess

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it's over. This is over, but we still have time for questions if

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anybody has any questions. I knew it was, like, shorter than I usually have,

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so I kinda, like, rushed through it, and it took 20 minutes. I had, like,

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30. So Yeah. You did Great, man.

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Obviously, some people reached out, so they followed up on that. That was great.

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But, yeah, I I got pulled away for a little bit because, again, your stage

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was right there by our booth, which was amazing. That was awesome.

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Yeah. Yeah, man. So much to learn from conferences,

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so much to learn as far as getting that that attention at these

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conferences. But stick with Brandon, and, we'll

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we'll help you out, Teach you every step of the way. So And

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with that, if you can't support you in this episode,

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do us a favor. Hit the Alright, bud. So we can continue to bring you

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these amazing insights from all of our podcast

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conferences and other conferences and All of our

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adventures. Stick with us. Get we'll go places. So hit

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that subscribe button. Go together. With that, I'm Larry Roberts. I'm

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It's paralyzing. I don't know how to end episodes.