by Phyllis Gricus
True confession: I want to hibernate in January. I have no natural inclination to want to travel for hours with the possibility of bad weather. Then walk the streets of Baltimore in the cold. And then have to exercise my social muscle and interact with (gulp) people!
For me, winter is the season for hunkering down at home, usually socially unplugged.
I will occasionally be digitally social. You know, new-school style: Online. From the somewhat anonymous comfort of my warm, smart device. Not the old-school, real face-to-face time way. Yet, in spite of my trepidations, most years I do make the effort to attend MANTS. And, SURPRISE! I’m always glad I did!
Yes, I must continually remind myself, as if It’s a news alert…This just in: Social Exercise is good for you and your business! Maybe you have the same social hibernation tendencies? If so, let me share my 6 reasons to remember to get out from behind the digital screen:
#1 Camaraderie: Garden writers, err, Gardencomm-ers?* are an inspiring and fun group to be with. The name may have changed but the familiar fellowship among our members remains the same. Each time I attend an event with other members I am reminded that I have found my people.
#2 Idea generators: Andrew Pidgeon, the marketing director from FibreDust/Enroot Products discovered during his product presentation of Gift Wrap that Grows just what an engaged crowd we are. The wrapping paper, embedded with wildflower seeds, goes a step beyond recycling—it can be planted! The group threw out questions about growing zones, shelf life, and possible vegetable seed paper. When I spoke with him afterwards, he was thrilled with the crowd participation and suggested that we had just helped him write his next marketing plan.
#3 Opportunities: There is so much to see at MANTS and without Marianne Wilburn’s keen eye for unique things I wouldn’t have learned about Best Bees, a company that offers beekeeping services to green industry professionals and interested homeowners. (A landscape design client of mine may be interested. See? Good for business!)
#4 Relationship Building: The social exercise continued as I moved from table to table at the Connect Meeting (otherwise known as “Let’s meet and drink at the hotel bar”). I was entertained as Pat Stone provided comedic foil to Doug Oster’s and Marianne Wilburn’s all-in-good-fun teasing.
#5 Energizing: Jan Kirsh, sculptor and landscape designer, attends MANTS each year for the social interactions with many of her suppliers. This year at the coaxing of Gloria Day, she stayed for the Connect Meeting and attended the Media Breakfast. Jan touts the creative synergy she draws from meeting people from different facets of the horticultural business.
#6 Education: Katie Elzers-Peters (The Garden of Words) is wicked-smart! I sidled up to her table to eavesdrop on the conversation about digital marketing. Did you know readers like lists? Thanks for the tip, Katie: You got this blog post started!
In summary, remember to remember the six reasons you will want to attend MANTS next year!
And remember to tag your media posts and share published work with the good folks who sponsor the media breakfast: Eve Hemsley Butt eve@MaroonPR.com; Anna Levendusky; Anna@MaroonPR.com
#MANTSBaltimore | #MANTS2019
*It’s also good to adapt to and even embrace change. Many thanks to the dedicated members and officers who are shepherding our organization into the future. Your efforts are appreciated!
Meet the Author
Phyllis Gricus is the principle of Landscape Design Studio, LLC in PIttsburgh, PA, a firm dedicated to creating sustainable and imaginative gardens. As a freelance garden communicator she has written for various publications and media outlets.