One of my clients is going through some cultural change efforts and invited me to attend some of their management training sessions earlier this week. The first warning sign that things might not be as effective as anticipated was when I walked into the room and found the instructor arguing with some attendees, accusing them of being late. I thought it was odd because I was 20 minutes early. It turns out the calendar appointment was sent for the wrong time and the instructor was unaware. Once people showed her their calendars, she backed off, but that’s never a good way to start.
We had been told that we were expected to be “fully present” during the training sessions, to wear comfortable loose clothing for team-building exercises, and that we wouldn’t be able to use our laptops during the session, but that we’d be given frequent breaks to check in. What they didn’t tell us was that one of the facilitators would actually confiscate not only our laptops, but also our cell phones. Although I understood what they were trying to do, taking phones from a room full of physicians, some of whom were on call, isn’t a great plan. It also didn’t give a positive message about treating us like adults and trusting that we could avoid non-urgent texts and emails. What they didn’t realize is that half of the class was wearing smart watches, which still worked during the course. That was a good thing for a couple of the physicians, one of whom was called to surgery.
For the rest of us, though, we had to wait nearly three hours for a break, which I’d hardly call “frequent breaks.” Oddly enough, at the break I had a message from the CEO, who had forgotten my plan for the day and had been looking for me. He was extremely displeased at being unable to reach two of us that were in the training session. There must have been a phone call to the corporate training department after I checked in with him, because the “no devices” policy was relaxed after lunch. Guess what? Everyone acted like adults and there weren’t any more interruptions than there had been in the morning. We didn’t get out of our chairs the entire session, so I’m not sure what the request for loose clothing was all about, but I guess we’ll never know.
I’m a keen student of language, so enjoyed this Merriam-Webster announcement about the new words they’ve recently added to the dictionary. Healthcare and technology were well represented with additions such as: net neutrality; abandonware; EpiPen; and urgent care. The dictionary experts also remediated some items that I’d have thought were added long ago: ride shotgun, town hall, ping, and Seussian.
I’ve started getting some HIMSS-related marketing phone calls. Of course, they quickly turn into HIMSS-related voice mails because I don’t answer calls from weird area codes or people I don’t know. A couple of them have had people speaking so quickly I couldn’t figure out what they were saying or who they were working for without listening a couple of times – which is crazy, since I’m from a fast-talking part of the country and can usually keep up. I know exhibitors have access to our profiles, so it might be nice if you remotely coordinated your pitches with the interests of your target as well as making sure your callers can articulate so they are understandable.
The HIMSS-related mailing volume is down significantly this year. I’m sad to say I haven’t received anything truly eye-catching or even worth talking about. No poker chips, no oddly-shaped mailers to get my attention, no Orlando-themed marketing hooks. I suppose Las Vegas is an easier sell, but it would be easy to do a fun-in-the-sun theme. I’ve probably received less than a dozen pieces of mail total, but of course that doesn’t count the mailings that will arrive after I depart. It happens every year and you’d think they’d have figured out how to solve that problem by now.
HIMSS did send me an email with my “Corporate Member Focus Group Confirmation,” which was funny because I didn’t sign up for any focus groups. It just seemed like too much work this year, especially with their new policy around only allowing the first 12 arrivals to attend even though they may have extended more invitations than that. Planning to attend one takes a chunk of time out of your day. Although attendees receive a gift card for their participation, the invites I received weren’t compelling enough to make it worth the hassle.
I’ve also received some downright creepy emails from other HIMSS attendees, looking to build their networks or hawk their services. I don’t know what the exact agreements with HIMSS sharing data are, but one I received felt like an invasion of privacy. The sender must have had access to my mailing address as well as my email address because he made specific references to the part of the city I live in and how he would like to get together in town if I can’t meet with him at HIMSS. You can bet I’ll be paying better attention to any opt-out settings when I sign up for HIMSS next year.
What’s the creepiest marketing effort you’ve seen or experienced? Email me.
Email Dr. Jayne.