Marcus Sheridan

Gary Vaynerchuk sits on stage and fields questions from the audience during a break.

Gary Vaynerchuk sits on stage and fields questions from the audience during a break.

In this industry, we hear lots of talk about “engagement”, “being social” and all those other pretty-sounding phrases. But I get it—being human matters. In fact, I was reminded of this principle while attending a conference in NYC a couple of weeks ago. The event—Business Gets Personal—was put on by 3 extremely well known thought leaders in the business and marketing space: Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Overall, the event did not disappoint. Dave, Seth, and Gary  performed as they typically do and delivered inspiring messages to those in attendance. But for me, perhaps the most memorable moment of the day came during a 30 minute break, when I noticed Gary Vaynerchuk, instead of going backstage with the rest of the speakers and organizers, stayed at the edge of the stage and simple took a seat—willing to talk to those folks in attendance that wanted to chat with the marketing icon.

At first, there were only a few of us talking with Gary. He excitedly spoke to our little group as if he were still on stage—with the same passion and vigor his brand has become so very well known for. Over the next 15 minutes, the questions to Gary continued, and the little group we were became a rather large one, with about 25 of us crowded close together, listening to Gary riff on whatever crossed his mind in the moment.

In the closing moments of the dialogue, Gary said the following:

“Right now, I could be in the back with everyone else. I could be catching up on emails. Since this morning, I’ve gotten over 140 emails that are unanswered in my inbox.

(Then, looking down at his pocket where his phone was he made a statement I think I’ll remember for quite some time:)

“I’ve got a pocket full of stress right now… But I’m with you.”

He wasn’t trying to brag. He wasn’t looking for a pat on the back. He was making a point:

There is a very big difference between being social, and being truly “engaged.”

Well said Gary, well said.

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