I was at WordCamp Ottawa (#wcott) over the weekend to lead a panel discussion titled Ethical Behavior in an Open Source World. The questions I posed were slightly different than those I asked at WordCamp Buffalo. The panelists were different, too, and it proved to be an interesting discussion.

Empty chairs

Michelle Ames and I arrived in Ottawa in time for the speakers’ dinner and I was able to meet all but one panelist. I knew right away I’d love Ottawa because everyone greeted me with a hug, like I was already family. But, then I got stuck in the hotel parking garage and drove around Carleton University for half an hour looking for a parking space. Everything turned out alright, though, and is one I’ll remember for a long time.

I attended several sessions, some of which I’ll recap quickly here, others have left me thinking of ways I can improve both as a service provider and as an individual.

Don’t be Nice Be Kind

Cami Kaos (isn’t that an amazing name?) led the first session I attended, There’s a Person at the End of This Project. She politely and kindly reminded us that reviews that aren’t constructive (you know those short, abrupt, mean and sometimes so horrible you can’t believe you just saw those words in writing) are more of a reflection of the person leaving them than the thing being reviewed. Instead she encouraged all of us in the room to take 10 seconds and breathe when we’re frustrated and feel like reaching out with mean and belittling words.

We all need to remember there is a person at the other end of whatever technology is causing our frustration and to be not just nice, but kind when we leave reviews.

The two takeaways that I would love for you to take away, too:

Be constructive. State what you were expecting and what actually happened. Then someone can actually do something about it.

Leave comments about things you think are awesome too. As we all know, most people only speak up when there are issues. It’s so incredibly encouraging to read positive comments, so let’s leave more of them.

Don't be nice Be Kind slide picture

Grow Your Brand

We’ve all been seeing business coaches and branding experts tell us we need to define our audience, know how/what makes them tick, and know how we can serve them. Most of the people I’ve seen saying this are women. Not that that’s bad but this presentation was by a Canadian gentleman named Ari Black.

Another nugget of advice I’ve heard many times, but have a hard time putting it into practice for myself? Every piece of content that we use on our websites helps tell our story, building around the question “why”.

The mission is “how.” The vision is the “Why.”

WordCamps

WordCamps are a great way for the average person to learn more about how to use WordPress, how to improve their websites and meet people in the WordPress community that will become great friends and resources.

I’ll be sharing more bits of wisdom over the next few weeks, both here and in the Simply Launched facebook group in hopes to push you to moving your business forward.