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September 14, 2006

Never, ever -- EVER -- run at a convention

Inspired by Mike Mason's post about great leadership advice, can we start a meme -- just for fun -- on association advice?

I think back to my first months as an association exec in 1999 and I was just a month or so from being shipped off to Montreal for our annual convention. I remember learning on one of my first days the quintessential rule of how to conduct yourself at an association convention or meeting: DO NOT RUN. We were strictly forbidden from running at any time while working the convention. Emergency with the keynote speaker on the mezzanine level? Don't run. Chair of the board nowhere in sight for her big speech that starts in under a minute? Don't run. Fire alarm going off? Don't run.

Aside from association management, the longest career I've had was as a Lifeguard, so this story is coming together real nice. I still tell people not to run, but I don't carry a whistle now.

Seven years later, my teammates today know that "Don't run" is like my credo. Every year before our biggest meeting, they know they can count on me to lay down the rule.

I'll be intersted to hear other association executive rules.

Tagged: ; ; ;


Anonymous said...

I have a personal convention rule that I share with any new staffers: Buy new socks. Nothing feels better for tired feet than brand new socks, espcially when you know you have three more 14-hour days ahead of you.

And, don't even think about wearing heels. :)

- Anon in IN

Ben Martin, CAE said...

Heh. I'm currently wearing a pair of Jobst orthopedic socks that were given to me by a member when I worked at the Health Industry Distributors Assn. We were talking on the trade show floor during our convention. I told him how your feet wind up hurting so bad during the convention and he sent me a couple of pairs for free. I highly recommend them!

Nathan Larson said...

I try to take every opportunity to run. If I need to go copy something, if no one happens to be looking, I'll just run down the hall real fast and then slow down right before I walk into the copy room, so no one knows.

If I weren't worried that it would seem unseemly or unprofessional, I'd probably run everywhere. It saves a lot of time. The only disadvantage arises when you're dealing with blind corners or people engaged in conversation and walking backwards (or people engaged in conversation while walking backwards around blind corners). I've noticed that a high proportion of near-misses and collisions that I get involved in in the workplace involve people walking backwards or otherwise not watching where they're going.

Ben Martin, CAE said...

You could wrtie for the Onion, Nathan.

Nathan Larson said...

LOL, that does read like an Onion article.