Chris Penn is the future of Mediation

Bold statement, I know. But after spending the weekend at PodcampBoston, I think he’s really on to something we could use.

Podcamp Boston

It’s no secret that I’m interested helping you build a sustainable mediation businesses. What I discovered at Podcamp Boston is another viable way to help my colleagues and friends do that. FIrst, let me explain what podcamp is.

The brainchild of Christopher S. Penn, I’d define Podcamp as one of the first entirely user-generated conferences that happens to be about new media and podcasting. Now, before someone says that’s what every conference is, let me explain further. Podcamp has:

  • no theme- participants talk about what feels relevant to them at the time
  • no other purpose then helping and learning- pitching is not allowed
  • no barrier to attending- it cost $51 for two days
  • no rhetoric

I loved Podcamp. It was a wholly different experience than any conference I’ve every attened or presented at- and that’s a lot. A couple of things really stood out for me as exemplary and I want to share them with you.

Everyone was an Expert

All the sessions were encouraged to be open dialogues instead of the lecture style presentations. You ask a question, anyone in the room who knew the answer could reply. Not only did I get immediate answers to things like how to encrypt an RSS feed (thanks Steve Albanese of, but I gave a few answers, too. It was great to experience being the beginner and guru at the same time. Yes, some folks will say all conferences offer that experience. This was different, and I’m still processing how to articulate that.

Everyone was Approachable

I saw some pretty recognizable names at Podcamp. These folks were friendly and open to sharing their knowledge. No pitch. No check my website. Just two folks who have a common interest talking about it. Amazing. I met David Meerman Scott, the author of one of my favorite viral marketing books, The New Rules of PR

What a gracious guy. We talked for a few minutes then he immediately agreed to do an interview. No go through my person. No ‘I don’t do small groups’. No pretentiousness at all. This is a guy who regularly does corporate speaking events for big bucks. And, he’s gonna share with you how to navigate social media and win clients for free. (I’ll post a note when we get the dates)

Chris Penn, the organizer, gave Mediation Mensch a spanking at his session, Extreme Website Makeover. (I’m making changes as you read). I got practical, useful insights that will make the site better from the guy running the conference. That’s approachable.

Why Can’t We Do Podcamp?

Why couldn’t we create a MarketMedcamp, or something? I don’t think there’s a reason why use mediators couldn’t create a similar event to podcamp. Sure, we have conferences, but I’m thinking more of a gabfest where all we talk about is what marketing works and how to actually DO things to grow our businesses.

Am I crazy? Could this work? I think so, but, as usual, I’m wondering what you think…

PS I’m still learning to resize graphics.


Dina Beach Lynch

Dina Beach Lynch is a Workplace Mediator and Conflict Coach who supports professional practice groups. MORE >

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