Home' micenet eMag : micenet AUSTRALIA December 2014 January 2015 Contents Your correspondent is writing from a hotel room in Las
Vegas, living out scenes from the Hangover films, but with a
lot fewer monkeys and strippers and a lot more eating your
own bodyweight in pastries. I’m expecting a stream of LinkedIn
endorsements for Getting Top Value Out Of A Buffet Skills.
It’s a great thing to be Australian in America, because it
confers some kind of prestige just for being you. “You’re
Australian?” they ask as if they’d just met a unicorn. “That’s
ossum!” Actual ossumness is not required. So what can we
learn about America?
What’s great about America
When you immerse yourself in the American system - their
media, the magazines they sell in airports, random discussions
with strangers - you get a renewed sense that literally anything is
possible. Americans are excited and positive about
EVERYTHING. After a week here, you review your own modest
Australian efforts, and a tiny imaginary American appears on
your shoulder and says DO BETTER BUDDY. America removes
your sense of limitation.
What’s great about Australia
We take for granted our ability to judge individual situations and
bend the rules when that is plainly the right thing to do. Not so in
America. Vegas is an extreme example, but you, the guest, are
an insignificant cog in systems and processes that must not be
bent. By Order, The Management. And US hourly pay rates
don’t cover flexible thinking.
The Australian ability to work around rules is a joyous thing for
customers, and if you can give your staff a sense that they’re
permitted to do it, your business will bloom. In customer-type
jobs that is, if you’re in crane rigging or aircraft maintenance
stick to the manual thanks.
Presentations aren’t the meaning of
It pains me to say this in a column about presentations, but
they’re not as big a deal as we like to think. I’m at a finance
industry conference, with my mate who has been to many
conferences and never turned up to a single session. He’s in a
bar, arranging deals and high-level favours with a woman from
London he met at a conference in Sydney long ago, when things
kicked on at legendary S&M den the Hellfire Club. “Hey there
were pool tables downstairs.”
These are experiences that can bond you for life and form
business relationships that no standard meeting or sales call can
ever do. It’s a long game, making the commercial returns hard to
justify on a single year’s evaluation.
If you’re a younger member of our industry, the cocktails and
the after-parties you don’t attend are costing Future You access
to the secret club where stuff gets done offline, once your
friends achieve some sort of power.
As an industry, we should consider how we facilitate this kind
of special bond. And chill out about people missing the 8.30am
How’s the AV in America?
Glad you asked. You’d expect some serious technical firepower
in a city full of Cirque du Soleil-level production values. And at a
conference level you’d get, well, none of that. At this event, the
AV contractor was using four floor speakers for 1800 people, so
all the presenters sounded like they were dialing in to a phone
conference from their car in Tennessee. The whole control desk
area had a distinct Radio Shack feel about it.
There was a lot more subsistence AV elsewhere in the casino
conference centre, a complex so massive and multi-level it
should be made into an X-Box game called Plenary Quest 3.
Having a vested interest, I hesitate to say that Australian
conference clients are blessed by the quality of our AV
community. But they are.
But what about trade displays?
The standard trade show booth as you know it in Australia isn’t
the standard in America. Their booths are built from the same
pipe & drape that AV companies use for stage backdrops. While
the rear wall is the normal height, the side drapes between
booths are waist height, with a trestle table up front. The whole
setup looks pretty much like the Prize Hog display at the County
Fair, just with carpet rather than straw. Australian conference
clients are blessed, etc.
Right, time to pack. Damn, how did these armadillos end up
in the bathtub? m
Stays in Vegas, except for a few random
observations on the conference industry from
BY IAN WHITWORTH
What Happens In
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