If You’re Not Here, This is What You’re Missing So Far

Mike Sorohan

A few snippets of things that have happened so far at the IABC Conference in New Orleans…

The Welcoming Reception at the Mardi Gras Museum. The Welcoming Reception is always a raucous affair in which polite, staid business communicators let their hair down and do things that they don’t remember the next day (for Ned, this is called “normal”). Egged on by an excellent wedding-reception band that played predictable hits (“Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, something by KC and the Sunshine Band, something by the Pointer Sisters, etc.) and a mini-Mardi Gras parade in which members of the IABC board threw cheap beads (only a few minor injuries reported), IABCers fell upon the food like pigeons in the park and lined up at the bars as if they’d been in the desert for a week. A good time was had by all, especially Ned. And that was BEFORE the…

•…Canadian Hospitality Suite. The Canadian members of IABC are legendary for their hospitality suites, which are so good, they get corporate sponsorship—usually from a beer company. The Canadians are so far ahead of other IABC regions in party ideas that it’s really no contest. I especially liked the guy who had tattooed the Canadian flag on his forehead (sure hope it washes off). And all of this happened AFTER the…

•…First General Session, in which we learned how to speak Jazz, thanks to a terrific presentation by Tom Sancton and the Clive Wilson New Orleans Quintet. Sancton is proof positive that if you have good communication skills, you’ll never go hungry—even if you’re a musician. And this took place AFTER the…

•…Sunday Sessions. I attended a particularly good session on “Firing on All Cylinders” by Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project. I was expecting a time-management seminar, but instead we learned about how energy transcends time and that our focus should not be on managing time, but energy. We should not emulate marathoners, Tony says, but instead sprinters, who go all out in short bursts, but then allow for recovery time. Communicators, he noted, tend to allow for little recovery time—which is why so many don’t get enough sleep, feel burnt out and don’t manage their time well. And this and other sessions happened AFTER the…

•…Walking Tour of the French Quarter. Led by Gerard Braud, a native Louisianan and crisis communication manager, we got a timely reminder of how fragile New Orleans was—and still is—less than two years after Katrina wreaked its incredible havoc. While the French Quarter escaped much of the physical damage of Katrina because of its higher ground location, the devastation in surrounding areas—and the continued economic impact of the entire area—remains evident. Which is why it’s so important for organizations such as IABC to be here, putting faith in New Orleans and its people and its recovery.

Diet Mountain Dew Update: Still no luck. I’m getting my caffeine hits from Diet Coke, which, compared to Diet Mountain Dew, is like asking for morphine and getting Tylenol.

Ribbon Update: I’m up to eight, which I’m proudly displaying like a rutting peacock. Ned, however, has more than a dozen and he’s so cool about it, he just has them stuffed in his name badge—a definitive alpha male move.

Quote of the Night: “Mike, JOTW might be going out later than usual on Monday.”

—Ned Lundquist, ABC, late last night at the Canadian Hospitality Suite.

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