When the October issue of The Mover hits your desks I will be attending the IAM convention in Orlando along with around 2000 other members of the global moving industry. But why?
We live in the communication age. We have 24-hour access to information and myriad ways of keeping in touch. People frequently send emails across an office rather than walk a few paces to talk face-to-face; youngsters text, Snapchat, Tweet, Instagram and WhatsApp their way through life as if the spoken word has become outlawed; I can even confess to sending my daughter a text asking her to come down from her room for dinner! What’s going on?
In October the great and the good of the international moving industry will leave their families, run the gauntlet of airport security, sit cramped on jets for hours, suffer the delights of US immigration and gladly fork out $200+ a night in hotel bills, to talk to people – something that many seem to spend their lives avoiding. In doing so they will achieve little that could not have been done faster, cheaper and easier online. Or could it?
Why am I going to IAM? Why does anyone go? I suppose it’s because, at heart, we are all social creatures. That’s why social media has flourished. We like to talk, swap ideas, joke, play and share experiences together. How many conversations have started with “Remember when we were in …”? If you weren’t there, you are out-crowd.
But there’s another reason. People like to work with people who are serious about what they do. The very fact that electronic communication is cheap, means that it has a lower perceived value than say, a phone call or meeting. Travelling half way around the globe says “I’m committed to what I do” and “I value the relationship we have”. I believe that kind of thing matters. It’s like comparing a carefully crafted magazine article, and a blog: they say the same but the published article has more kudos.
There’s serendipity too. The chance meeting that revives old memories or makes new acquaintances that might, with a little sprinkling of magic dust, become friendships. It’s hard to do that on a computer.
If you are going to IAM, I look forward to sharing a few precious moments with you in the Florida sunshine. If not, maybe you should think about giving it a try next year.