I just returned from the Texas Association of Orthotists &
Prosthetists annual meeting in San Antonio. It was at the Hyatt Hill Country
Resort & Spa. Nice place. Very nice place. If you haven’t been there,
I highly recommend it.
I work with the association and one of the things I do for them is plan
their annual meeting. That means I need to get there a couple days before the
meeting starts to set up, meet with the hotel staff, go over the arrangements
— standard procedures for any O&P meeting. Ordinarily it is a lunch
and a walk through with the catering manager and maybe the sales person. Not at
the Hyatt Hill Country.
Meet and greet
We were scheduled for a 9 am pre-conference meeting on Wednesday. I met
the catering manager in the lobby and we were off to our meeting. As I headed
down the hallway to the boardroom I noticed that the hallway was lined with
staff, some of whom I recognized from the site visit the year before. I started
to feel like the president of the United States.
Everyone was lined up to shake my hand and introduce themselves. The
head of engineering, director of sales, vice president of sales and others
awaited me as we headed into the boardroom. More people! There were eight or 10
other people at the boardroom table. Rooming, audio visual, accounting, food
and beverage, meeting concierge and on and on. It was pretty impressive and
sort of overwhelming. I am used to having to remember a handful of names and
faces for the duration of an event.
Match names with faces
The meeting started on Thursday and ended Saturday evening. We had a
casino night welcome reception, 16 workshops, a full day of general sessions, a
Friday night reception and a golf event. My point? I came into contact with
almost every single one of the people at the pre-conference meeting during our
event and although they were wearing name tags I would be hard pressed to tell
you anyone’s name or their job description or function. Too much
information and no handout to go along with it.
As part of my post-conference feedback I will suggest that the Hyatt put
together a “facebook” of all the staff related to the event. I would
have been able to refer to that when I needed to speak to Jean from food and
beverage or Justin from A/V and let me tell you, that would have been helpful.
What does that have to do with O&P? Consider your first time patient
or customer. You may think you’re being helpful by introducing them to the
receptionist, accounts receivable staff, customer service contacts, techs and
assistants, but it can be overwhelming, especially if they’ve never been
there before or had contact with your company before. How about a one page
sheet that shows everyone’s face and their title and job description? Make
a real “facebook” and use it to help alleviate stress, familiarize
your customers with the staff and literally make it easier to put a name with a
For more information:
Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource
Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.