Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where to draw the line

At a recent green event where we gave out 1 gig USB keys loaded with all the presentations, bios and company profiles, a guest came up to me and asked "If you really wanted to have a green event, you would have loaded all the material onto the website instead of giving out USB keys which are created using chemicals, water, etc....." 

Deep breath Judy, take it easy Judy, remember this is another instance where someone believes that doing the right thing is all or nothing. They are thinking that if you can't do everything, then what you do accomplish doesn't make a difference. I took a measured moment before responding to him. "Life is full of choices and we are always trying to make the best choice for each situation. In this case, we had guests who were used to getting bags of swag complete with handouts, binders, etc. We knew that going straight to having nothing except name tags might be quite a leap for some and it didn't really address some of our sponsorship and stakeholder concerns. We determined the best route was the USB keys which will be used over and over and over again. We also uploaded the information on to the website for those who couldn't attend. Having had this type of event once, next year our guests won't look twice when we don't hand out anything and post everything onto the web. They will know that a successful event isn't determined by the stuff they received, but by the information they received, the networking, the food, the atmosphere..."

At first I was a little upset that he didn't see what we had accomplished, only what we hadn't accomplished. Then Jennifer said to me, "Judy, at least we made him think about the choice" and she was absolutely right! I am glad he asked the question, I am glad that he confronted me because now I know that he is thinking and that is half the battle isn't it?


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