Flying into Atlanta Tuesday brought it all back. It’s been a long, long time since I traveled anywhere other than North Jersey or Montgomery County, Maryland while on the job. In a previous professional life, I worked these these huge sales training meetings that required flying a team of ten or twenty people into places slightly more glamorous. Places people might consider giving a body part to go to.
As much as I miss the venues, I miss the camaraderie more. AV and graphic techs, meeting planners, project managers, manager-managers, trainer-trainers. We were like an invading army, piling off planes and into vans, setting up camp in the on-site office and taking over the meeting rooms, unpacking box after box of supplies, subduing vast expanses of carpeted, air conditioned ballroom territory and making it serve our purposes. Putting in killer hours and putting out countless fires.
What I don’t miss are the things we needed to do back then to make sure everything went well. Things that technology has since made unnecessary.
For instance, we were still using 35mm slides. They needed to be in fragile glass mounts (plastic mounts tend to warp and jam the projector) and hand numbered with a sharpie. There was no putting a quick backup copy of your slide files on a thumb drive and tossing it into a your bag. You needed to hand-carry two complete sets of slides to the meeting, preferably using different people on different flights.
All of this was done in observance of the most important of the Ten Commandments of Doing Everything Possible to Avoid Screwing Up a Presentation: If you can’t do without it, make sure you don’t have to.
It’s sort of like this: if you need to have Pepsi, and you’re headed for Atlanta, be sure to bring your own. The hard part is knowing that you’ll need to do so.
Technology might have made it unnecessary to do things like carrying two brick-like sets of 35mm slides to every meeting but unfortunately, it has made other, new precautions necessary. Which of these new, technology-driven precautions are driving you absolutely crazy. You can use the comment area to vent about it if you need to.