Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the nature of the rep business. But over my five years as MANA’s CEO, every year I’ve seen less and less appetite for face-to-face education and networking from MANA members.
When Dallas MANA members wowed me by turning out 30-strong for a “PowerPoint-Free Zone*” lunch at Dunston’s Steakhouse, where I facilitated a conversation on topics in our industry that were of interest to that particular group of MANA members.
Thank you, Dallas MANA members, for demonstrating that there can still be exceptions to that trend and that there are still opportunities for MANA members to meet face-to-face to exchange ideas and support the representative system of selling.
At press time we’d just sent surveys to attendees to find out what kind of appetite there is for another Dallas meeting. But even if Dallas MANA members decide to meet only once or twice a year, it will still be reassuring to know that our industry, which hangs its hat on selling the value of face-to-face meetings with customers, puts its money where its mouth is and occasionally invests time in face-to-face meetings among peers.
And the same week this issue hits your mailbox, I’m facilitating another rep conversation in Cincinnati. The topics that interest attendees in Cincinnati will undoubtedly be different from the topics we discussed in Dallas, but what will be the same is that members of our industry will be sitting down together for a meal, sharing common problems and concerns, and having frank discussions about ways to solve those common issues.
Interested in bringing this conversation to your city? If you’re ready to volunteer as MANA’s “boots on the ground” to find a venue and stir up local interest, reach out to me at (877) 626-2776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* What, exactly, is a “PowerPoint-Free Zone?” It means no PowerPoint allowed. No projector. No canned speech. It means conversation instead of presentation. We start with a quick scan of the topics in MANA’s 18-page “Benefits of Membership” booklet to find the topics that are of greatest interest to that particular group, and then open the floor for facilitated conversation.