Communication is Power

Last weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering for The Antique Roadshow at the Denver Convention Center.  Rocky Mountain PBS is the sponsor and asked for a 100+ volunteers to help guide, direct and register the 5-6,000 ticket holders.  It was quite the amazing day. 

As volunteers, we began our “tour of duty” on Friday evening with a short training and sign-up for duties for the next day, met our team leader and had a brief walk-through of what was expected of us.  Saturday we were asked to be at our posts by 6:45 a.m; a continental breakfast awaited those of us who arrived by 6:15!  Nice.  Our day ended 12 hours later – some later than that!

My station was at the top of the escalators directing all those hearty souls who trudged up stairs, escalators and elevators with the most amazing “treasures.” These antique lovers and treasure hopefuls were there to get on the show – only about 60 people would get that privilege – find out if their granny’s necklace was worth more than $22, the chair that was tauted as being 17th Century was truly 17th Century, the painting behind the painting that they’d discovered was priceless, or that they had something of value, etc.  It was fun to watch all the family treasures arrive at the convention center. (As volunteers we too had the opportunity to show  first-class appraisers two items.)

The Antique Roadshow had Hall F and Harley-Davidson had Halls D & E – next to us; using the same escalator.  While The Antique Roadshow had volunteers and signs both downstairs and upstairs directing patrons, Harley-Davidson had neither.  I became the “go-to” volunteer for 100s of H-D attendees – as did the Convention Center volunteers – even though The Antique Roadshow logo blazoned my polo shirt.  “Where is our opening session?”  “Do you know where Room 306 is?” “Where is our luncheon?”  These questions were easy to answer once I got the information from the Convention Center volunteers.  Did I get anything from H-D?  No! Did their registrants?  No!

Knowledge is power. 

During the 11 hours at my “station,” I not only helped antique lovers, but also Harley-Davidson attendees.  Why didn’t Harley-Davidson have volunteers to help guide their 1000’s of conventioneers to its opening session, luncheon, break-out rooms and fashion show?  I don’t know.  What I do know, though, is I observed the confused H-D folks trying to figure out where to go, what room to find, how to get there and what to do.  Amazing:  signs and volunteers are indeed priceless!

The next time your organization, association or company holds a meeting in a strange town, convention hall or hotel, enlighten the attendees with information: volunteers and signage.  How invaluable they become to all those needing information.

Even without a 1000+- person convention or conference, maybe just a staff meeting, the more concrete information you give the people involved, the more relaxed and appreciative they are.

Communication – concrete, clear and comprehensible – is indeed power.

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