I took up residence at our table, near the back of the room. Flanked by thirty pounds of bagels and cream cheese on my right, a CRM software company on my left – our famous bowl of “Michigan Mints” firmly planted at the front of the table – I settled in for the long haul.
Honestly, there are times when attending a conference makes going to the dentist seem like Disney World. I suppose I’ve simply reached the point where many of them blend together, seeming to consistently lack dynamic content. It’s not necessarily a knock on conferences, just a truth made apparent by the number of faces buried in smart phones. There is always hope, though.
Today, Munetrix is at the Local Government Summit on Efficiency Creation & Cost Saving Conference in Lansing, MI. The main subject matter has to do with shared services and collaboration. This is a great conference for us, as we are absolutely relevant to the topic (Buzz is a presenter), as well as the state, which needs local governments and schools to reimagine the way they operate.
When the conference began, I flipped open my laptop and began to take notes. I’ve taught myself to do this for three reasons:
1. I pay more attention to the speaker than my iPhone.
2. Computers retain large amounts of information better than my brain at 9 AM
3. People usually ask for my notes – I tell them they should have paid better attention (just kidding, but it is a good networking opportunity).
In doing this, I attempt to take away at leastone theme/quote/message/idea that I can relate to. Today, this statement (paraphrased) resonated with me:
“Why are we worried about running more efficiently? The obvious answers are, of course, to cut costs, keep afloat, and continue to providequality service. It’s deeper than that though. Our kids are leaving. My daughters recently graduated from college and do you know what they tell me? ‘There is nothing here for us’. They feel like in order to start a life they need to move to Chicago, Seattle, New York, or D.C. That is wrong. That is why we need to run more efficiently. Not for us, but for our children; their children.”
Being a recent college graduate, I understand this. I have more college friends who live in Chicago than I do in the whole state of Michigan. There is something inherently wrong with that and I am encouraged to see leaders of the state recognize the importance of addressing it.
Maybe conferences aren’t as bad as the dentist?