By Brock McGinnis
The most important thing I learned at this week,Aeos third annual InfoComm AV Executive Conference (or AVEC) is that I was a fool not to have attended the first two.
Reading the promotional material I,Aeod concluded AVEC – an outgrowth of the tr/(c)s exclusif invite-only InfoComm 100 events ,Aei was targeted only at attendees much smarter and more important than I, and frankly AVEC agendas intimidated me, sounding like MBA boot camp weekends where one is pummeled with data all day and evenings are spent analyzing arcane case studies.
Fortunately, I couldn,Aeot have been more wrong. My first AVEC was, just as I,Aeom sure InfoComm envisioned it, truly an Exceptional Experience.
My fellow attendees were a wonderful, diverse and dynamic mix of integrators, live event pros, manufacturers, distributors, reps and consultants who, for the most part, were just like me: hungry for knowledge and inspiration, eager to collaborate and contribute, and very intentional about networking.
Keynote speaker, former star NFL and Canadian Football League quarterback. Joe Theismann was unexpectedly warm, engaging and, at times, outright hilarious. Professional emcee, and recovering game show host, Mark Jeffries was also entertaining, as well as highly effective keeping participants on point and on schedule.
Leo Hopf, author of Rethink, Reinvent, Reposition: 12 Strategies to Renew Your Business and Boost Your Bottom Line, nearly set the room on fire when he asked, ,AeuIs your business better positioned for the market the way it will be three years from now, or the way it was three years ago?,Aeu
Joe Pine, who co-wrote The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage, laughed at the AV industry,Aeos concerns with commoditization ,Aei a problem he,Aeod first identified in 1999. He challenged us to evolve beyond the commoditization trap of traditional goods and services into transformational, experience-based businesses.
,AeuStep Away From The Rubber Chicken!,Aeu
AVEC was superbly conceived by Ron Camden,Aeos organizing committee and flawlessly executed by Gretchen Zito and her InfoComm Events team. From the smallest details (magnetic name tags instead of lanyards or pins) to the most significant (free and robust Wi-Fi, great staging and sound, and copious snacks and beverages during the breakout ,Aeohomework,Aeo sessions), AVEC delivered a truly superior business conference experience.
Even the dinners were ,AeoExceptional,Aeo differentiators. Who knew a diverse and distributed food station format vs. plated ,Aeorubber chickens,Aeo or cafeteria-style buffets would be the catalyst that kept everyone moving, mixing and mingling long after a typical conference banquet room would be empty?
And who would have guessed not interrupting a conference banquet with interminable speeches, sponsor pitches or even entertainment would allow attendees to spend entire evenings talking with each other? Kudos InfoComm. You nailed it. Whoever is across the table is far more interesting than whoever is at the microphone, and the value we take away from a conference has a lot more to do with ,Aeuus,Aeu than it does with ,Aeuyou.,Aeu
,AeuBut Wait! There,Aeos More!,Aeu
The second most important thing I learned during my first AVEC experience is that InfoComm, the association, is changing. ,AeuWe are nothing without our members,,Aeu stated CEO David Labuskes in describing the focus of InfoComm,Aeos new strategic planning process. Although not yet finalized, some of the new priorities will include providing career-building volunteer opportunities, creating a culture of member recognition, providing members with first class customer service, revitalizing membership councils and replacing regional round tables with more contemporary market-focused (rather than association-focused) events. These are exciting times indeed.
,AeuFive Key AVEC Take Aways,Aeu
- -*,AeuIf everything seems under control you,Aeore just not going fast enough.,Aeu Mario Andretti
- Never pre-judge a conference by its brochures. Talk to someone who,Aeos been there.
- Change is inevitable. Whether the results are positive or not is up to you.
- ,AeuIt,Aeos hard to stop doing something you,Aeove spent a long time getting good at.,Aeu Leo Hopf
- Sleep is far less important than quality time with friends both old and new.
Brock McGinnis, a long time sales manager, is passionate about great customer experiences and good business outcomes for his employer Westbury National, one of Canada,Aeos largest and most respected audiovisual systems integrators.-*
Brock is also participating in the Movember charity drive and you can contribute to his campaign here.