InfoComm Live was Feb 25-26 in lovely San Diego, CA at the Catamaran Resort, which is right on Mission Bay. It’s hard to top last year’s location at the Aquarium in downtown Atlanta (after all, we did have Beluga whales swimming up to our meeting room window!), but San Diego in February is a whole lot better than where most of us were traveling from.
This year’s event was a bit more compact in schedule compared to years’ past. All presentations and workshops took place on one day with social events over two nights. I think the more focused agenda really made a difference in terms of keeping the attendees engaged.
As always, InfoComm did a great job of putting together an enjoyable program. The attendees were ready to work – the tight program certainly helped there – but they were also there to network. The generous program breaks, lunch, and nicely catered evening events gave everyone time to visit.
As Emcee/Host it was my job to make sure this year’s theme about EVENTures was woven into the dialogue. I want to share some of the key points that have been added to my permanent tool box of strategic business solutions.
The theme of IC Live centered on creating Exceptional Experiences for customers. One of the major takeaways was the importance of how Space is a key factor and the first consideration in creating an Exceptional Experience. Second, Content is what delivers the information and with it, the tone and imagery of that message. Lastly – and much to the chagrin of a very techno-savvy audience – Technology is incorporated only once the Space and Content have been defined, and Technology only needs to deliver what is required to achieve the optimum Customer Experience.
The first presenter of the day was Aimee Lucas with Temkin Group. She taught us to see how the many “moments” we create in the sales process can affect the overall experience that our customers will remember. The language we use in documents, websites, and conversation can adversely affect how the customer feels about us and subsequently how the project progresses. What resonated with me was how important it is to pay attention to the way an engagement ends. Is your last contact with a customer a final invoice from accounting? Ouch!
It was interesting to me that so many attendees were quick to say that negotiating was not a major part of their business lives. Thankfully our second presenter Gregory Garrett from GCS International was able to show that not only are negotiations an everyday occurrence, that our reluctance to recognize that adds great risk and exposure when we have a service failure. My takeaway note was to review my terms and conditions (and those of my consulting clients) to make sure I know what happens in the event a customer is not happy with service. Clear expectations are very important to reconciling a perceived mistake.
Coaching and Mentoring
Our third presenter Eric Papp taught us the importance of having honest conversations with our employees, which I think most leaders need to do more often. But what should we be talking about? Eric suggested that rather than focusing on defining your expectations of what workers should be doing for you, that you help them live up to their promises as employees. I am reminded of the habitually late worker and how most of us would focus on our disappointment that he wasn’t meeting our expectations. By turning it around – the employee defines his or her promise to the company and co-workers. In other words, being late needs to be a failure of the worker’s promise to themselves and others rather than simply not meeting someone else’s expectations.
What Else Did You Miss?
My clients know that I think industry events like this are extremely important and that leaders need these experiences in order to grow their knowledge, revive their drive, and expand their contact base.
Oh, and I gave away swag! Sorry you missed it!
Tom Stimson, MBA, CTS, is president of Stimson Group LLC, a Dallas-based management consulting firm specializing in strategy, process improvement, and market research for the Audiovisual Industry. Tom is a Past-President of InfoComm International and a current member of InfoComm’s Adjunct Faculty.