May 26, 2009 | 2:16 pm
I recently spent a day in our State Capital (Annapolis, MD) seeing our legislative process at work. I spent some time with a panel of lobbyists who talked about their role in pushing—or killing—legislation that might affect their clients. The truth is that our state legislators draft up to 3,000 bills in one 90-day session; the Governor will sign between 600 and 800 into law. The lobbyist’s job is to educate lawmakers about the pros and cons of each bill because, in their words, one person cannot know the details—and “unintended” consequences—of 3,000 bills.
Here’s what they said to remind me of the power of tradeshows: the legislative process is designed to invite feedback from citizens, corporate reps and any other stakeholders. To do that we may phone their office (unlikely we’ll reach the lawmaker), send a letter (most likely intercepted by staff) or we show up at the senate office building and grab five minutes of our representative’s attention, face to face. “When you’re trying to influence decisions, nothing beats face-to-face…by far,” agreed the lobbyists.
Sound familiar? Those of us in the tradeshow business believe that to our very bones and that’s why tradeshows are and continue to be a great investment. If you’re selling something, nothing beats face-to-face. If you’re buying something, nothing beats a hands-on demo. Web, phone, letters can pique someone’s interest; a face-to-face pitch seals the deal.
So before you cut any resources for tradeshow exhibiting or attending in the upcoming year, think about the cost—and unintended consequences—of missing all those valuable face-to-face meetings.
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May 13, 2009 | 6:54 pm
As a working parent, managing childcare is a top priority–and stressor. Something so critical should require constant interface, phone conversations and documentation. Right? Not anymore. I’ve been through five sitters in the past few years (that’s another story) but with each one, my main method of communication has been texting to their mobile phone or PDA. Not by choice but by necessity. Often, I will call and get no answer. If I follow up with a text, I’ll get a prompt reply. I finally caught on that they don’t even have their ring tone activated. I insist that they turn that on but I have adapted to texting as the primary mode of communication with my sitters on things like a new pick-up time, a general check-in or to let her know I am running late.
I used to worry that this information was much too important for the casual text message, but the bottom line is: texting gets critical messages across quickly and effectively. If I need to have a longer conversation with my sitter, I’ll start with a text asking her to call me. I’ve grown to believe in the power of sound byte communication. It’s not really replacing anything. It’s more of a new dimension in communication. And it doesn’t mean the information gets diminished in importance–or the recipient is less engaged.
The professional world is not ready to “discuss” important matters via text. But it looks like it might be headed there. For now, I think it is appropriate to text a client to let her know I am stuck in traffic, alert her to a last-minute change in a meeting location, or ask her if she has a few minutes to chat if I know she’s en route somewhere.
Texting, Tweeting, and Facebook status updates, can be the start of a longer conversation that continues and flourishes off line. I still believe nothing beats face-to-face interaction. More and more, you may need a quick hit to the handheld device to get things moving in that direction.
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May 4, 2009 | 10:58 am
I have heeded our new president’s call that every citizen contributes time to help our communities and, in so doing, help repair our country. So I spend my Sunday afternoons volunteering at the Montgomery County Humane Society. Have you been there? It’s a 35-year-old county facility that frankly has seen better days. And like many animal shelters, they are jammed. I spend my time in the Cat Rooms (there are 3) where volunteers and staff show cats to prospective adopters, clean cages and try to keep the cats socialized by petting, holding and talking sweetly to them.
The stories of how they got there run the gamut but there’s a fair share who end up there because their family got booted from their place of residence and wherever the humans ended up had no room for the family cat.
So I spend Sundays talking to cats. I tell them they are beautiful and that they’ll soon have a new home (that’s mostly true). I remind them that it’s not their fault that the economy stinks and the family pet is sometimes left behind…collateral damage from a family’s trauma.
If you have room in your heart and your home, visit the Humane Society one day soon and find yourself a new friend. They need forever families.
This Tuesday, May 5th there will be a special fiesta-style reception, Cinco de Meow where you can meet adoptable cats and kittens. And if you can’t visit there, visit here: www.mchumane.org.
Categories: Fixation in the Community
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