Comms Vision 2016 – Creativity, Innovation, PostIt Note and Rugby Ball. Part 1
Comms Vision 2016 – setting the scene
I just can’t believe how quickly the year passes. There are two events a year that are milestones for me: The IT Directors Forum and Comms Vision, my two favourite events of the year, for very different reasons.
The Journey Out
I took the 1200 Kings Cross to Inverness train as that is one of two trains a day that stop at Gleneagles station. The new Virgin First Class rolling stock really are first class, and an improvement on previous years using the old East Coast Railway coaches. The food was much improved too now Virgin have called on the advice of my favourite TV chef James Martin.
When the train stopped at Newcastle, two old ladies sat in the seats on the other side of the aisle to me. Although they were sitting opposite each other at the same table and the sound insulation within the coach was very good they were talking to each other at full volume. The content of conversation (which even the strongest willed person could not resist becoming involved) took me straight back to conversations between Cissie Braithwaite and Ada Shufflebotham Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough). “Have you heard from Doris since she had her operation?” “Ooh that was horrid. You know they cut her… out, don’t ya?” muting the volume while exaggerating the mouth actions on the body part to leave their fellow passengers to fill in the blanks.
Somewhere between Edinburgh and Gleneagles one of our loveable Inverness bound ladies decided to call her friend who, as we soon discovered, was already at their Inverness hotel. “HELLO ETHEL”. “ARE YOU THERE YET?” she looked around to her co-traveller pointing at the handset. “She’s already there.” “ETHEL, WE’RE ON THE TRAIN, WILL YOU MEET US AT THE STATION?” The conversation proceeded at such a volume my fellow travellers were stifling their laughter throughout the carriage.
I suddenly felt very guilty that my industry had failed in delivering a truly accessible communications system if we must increase our spoken volume to overcome the challenges of distance. Just as well we were travelling at 125mph otherwise our friend may have had to shout louder. The really funny thing was that the whole carriage could hear Ethel too and she wasn’t even on loud speaker! At the end of the call Cissie updated Ada. “Ethel is going to meet us at the station. It must be close by ‘cos she’s walking and she hasn’t been able to walk far since she had that… …tion”. The passengers in our carriage fell in love with our very own Cissie and Ada, they were great characters, especially when they gave an appraisal of each of their nearby passengers as they left the train. “He was a bit miserable.” “He was quite chatty.” I was hoping they had an appraisal for me as I left the train at Gleneagles.
The Bar – a lesson in customer service
When I arrived after my eight-hour door to door journey I thought I would call in to the bar for a beer to unwind. The bar was fairly quiet as it was a day before the official start of Comms Vision and the majority of the guests were in the restaurant. I sat at the bar and asked the bar tender if he had any craft beers. He asked me some details about my preferences and then recommended a very nice local draft beer called Schiehallion from the Harviestoun brewery. Very nice indeed!
While chilling’ at the bar the bar staff made me feel very welcome and between them kept the conversation flowing, a fine example of hospitality. They were a young team but with exceptional customer service skills (as you would expect at Gleneagles). Very knowledgeable, very friendly and polite without being too familiar and extremely efficient when the bar became busy after dinner. They worked like a well-oiled machine, serving customers, mixing cocktails, holding several conversations, keeping an eye on stock, distributing nuts and olives and settling accounts. Cocktail requests were coming in thick and fast and while one bar tender was mixing several cocktails another would assist by delivering ingredients while passing by from one side of the bar to the other serving customers. It really was a sight to see.
When every member of the team is highly competent and totally in tune with the capabilities of every other member of the team we witness the magic of teamwork at its best. Only then can team members assist each other by servicing real time needs with hardly a word spoken and without breaking their own work flow. My thanks go to the ‘Dream Team’ for your conversation, education and entertainment and for making me feel like I was part of the ‘family’ for the evening. It certainly got me into a relaxed and focussed frame of mind to enable me to make the most of what the next two days had in store for me. More in part 2 coming soon!