Several weeks ago we ran an article discussing how exhibitors at conferences could be more effective in their efforts. A recent discussion about behavior at workers compensation conferences has lead me to discuss how to be a better attendee at these events.
A friend of mine was with a group of women at an afterhour's social at the recent National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference in Las Vegas. As the women danced at the party, they began to repeatedly encounter a somewhat intoxicated man now simply referred to as the "ass grabber".
I really should not have to explain his behavior in detail to you.
My friend had to repeatedly wade into the fray to save his associates from this lecherous jerk. This is not an isolated incident, nor is it a problem related solely to our industry. We've all encountered people who have had too much to drink, or seem to leave their morals on the doorstep whenever they have a chance to leave home for a few days.
The problem here is that these are still business events, and our behavior matters. What we do, what we say, and who we molest will be a direct reflection not just on ourselves, but the business we represent. I can assure you our lady friends know both the name of the "ass grabber", and the company he works for. Neither will ever get any business from them.
The same, frankly, can be said of married people who are openly cavorting - especially if they are not married to each other. People notice things like that, and such indiscretions are likely to have an impact on how those people are viewed by others. That view will also impact the business they choose to bring their way.
The examples are widely available. The annual conference in Florida is legendary for these exploits. You could write a book about it, but it would have to be sold in adult oriented venues. However, this is not a condition limited to the sunshine state. It can happen anywhere. There is the young married woman who three times had a man, without saying a word, slip his room key card into her hand at a reception. She politely returned it every time, without bothering to point out to the moron that the room number is not printed on them. There is the married guy, invited to a dinner with another person's clients (which included a judge), who began hitting on the females in attendance. Part of his smoothly intoxicated plan was to show them how "hot" his wife was, by displaying pictures of her on his phone. I suppose if she had been wearing clothing in those photos it would not have seemed so, well, creepy. And then there is the drunken "propositioner", hitting on anything that moves.....
Behavior matters. Character matters. This is particularly true when you are wearing a name badge hanging from a lanyard around your neck.
Generally the vast majority of people comport themselves in a relatively professional manner at these events. Many of us have had an event or two where we've had too much to drink. It's happened to me. I, however, while certainly considered an ass by some, tend not to be an "ass grabber". For those people who have the tendency to be a complete moron in those situations, I would suggest they stick with tonic water and lime.
Just because the liquor is free, you are under no obligation to drink all of it.
So, as a word to the wise, don't be an ass grabber. Don't employ an ass grabber. And if you happen to find an ass grabber on your payroll, fire them. They are costing you money, and sinking your reputation in the industry.
At the end of the day, your business and related reputation are only as strong as your least sober employee. It is probably a good discussion to include in your next conference strategy meeting.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.