I just laughed when I ran across this post in the SoolNua newsletter by Magdalina Atanassova of the Kenes Group about how the animals in our lives make us better at our jobs, so much so that they deserve their own hashtag. With my faithful assistant Mango sleeping at my feet, I thought, “She is so right.”
Then I thought, “Wait, what? There’s a hashtag for #DogsofEventProfs?”
Yes there is, and it now features Mango along with a very adorable beagle (Magdalina’s, I presume?). Go on, post a photo of your favorite dog (or cat, or llama, or iguana—I think “dog” is kind of generic for “pet”) to the hashtag. I’ll wait.
So what do we learn from our non-human friends? She says, “just like our pawsome friends, we require change of scenery and movement to stay alert, learn faster, and even feel physically and emotionally better. For us as event professionals, this translates to having different meeting formats and activities that make our audiences move in order to make them learn better, meet more people and have an overall better meeting experience.”
OK, so I don’t quite get that much intel from the Divine Ms. M. She does, however, teach me a few things:
• Approach all humans as though they may have cookies in their pockets—always assume the best of people, at least until they prove otherwise.
• When negotiating for something you really want (those cookies! That contract clause!), start by offering something small, say a head tilt or a sit, but always be prepared to do a flying spin if the other party is particularly recalcitrant.
• No matter how hectic life gets, never turn down the opportunity to take a nap.
• Likewise, especially when on site, never turn down the opportunity to snack. Even if you know when your next meal should be, you (or in Mango's case, her rotten meal provider—bad Sue!) may get caught up in work and forget that it’s suppertime.
• Develop a good sense of who wants a big, enthusiastic greeting and who would prefer a more sedate one. Not everyone appreciates a leap into the arms or a kiss on the cheek.
• Always take time to stop and smell the…hmm, I’ll say roses, but that’s usually not what she’s sniffing. But you get the drift—be in the moment, appreciate where you are and who you’re with.
• Never play rough with strangers. Get to know each other’s style before you push any limits.
• If something’s out of place or just doesn’t look right, bark at it! Let someone know that the snowman that’s now in the field wasn’t there yesterday and why is it there now and who knows what it may be up to. Likewise that guy who just showed up on the expo floor and does not match your typical attendee or exhibitor profile. "See something, say something" probably originated with a K-9 unit.
• Sometimes, you just have to power through the bad stuff (brushing, say) to get to the good stuff (mmm, Greenies). Extra points if you can do it with a modicum of graciousness.
OK, your turn!