The reason I called you together...

What if you called a meeting and only a few people showed up? If it was an “optional attendance” meeting you would probably question the importance of the subject to be discussed. If the subject was important you’d probably ask yourself was it “really” important to those invited to attend.

And, of course, there is that worst-of-all cases; you call a meeting and no one shows. Did you have the wrong date? Did they get the meeting notice? Are the no-shows sending you a message; if so, what is the message-indifference?

Should you be upset whatever the reason? Or should you chalk it up to a one-time aberration? Is it a back-handed message, from your peers, that you are no longer effective and what you have to say is inconsequential; in other words has management decided to replace you?

My friend Bob went through this recently. He set up an exhibitors’ meeting to coincide with a trade show. It was not an RSVP event but the inference in the invitation was clear; attendance, although optional, should be of interest to the attendee. He even went so far as to send out e-mail blasts promoting the meeting and, in direct contacts with exhibitors, exhorted them to attend. On the day of the meeting the room was only partially full, but, like the trooper he is, he soldiered on with his message, which unfortunately lost a little of its luster because of the empty seats in the room.

In discussing this with him during the show, I learned that this wasn’t the first time this had happened to him. Prior events were excused for a number of reasons, none of which got to the nub of things. My view, I volunteered, was that his “audience” just wasn’t on the same page as he was when it came to the subject matter and that maybe he needed to rethink the subject and the message he was delivering. After all, I reasoned, if you keep telling them this is important, and they don’t respond, is it possible it’s not really important to them? I craftily hoped that buried in my message was a clue for him that the audience he thought he knew well had changed and he was loosing relevance.

Fortunately, you readers are my audience and I expect you will find this issue of ILS relevant and useful, especially those of you that are North American buyers of laser processing services. This is our annual Job Shop Buyers Guide issue, listing those shops offering laser processing services that elected to return questionnaires for a listing in this year’s Guide.

In some respects I feel a little like my friend Bob. We issued an invitation for a free listing in the guide and only a limited number of shops responded. We encourage companies in need of subcontracting services to check out the Buyers Guide to see if a shop’s services matches your needs.

This issue is also the FABTECH preview issue. By default FABTECH has, in the words of some laser systems suppliers, become the Munich Show of North America. By that they mean that FABTECH is the largest display of laser processing equipment and ancillary products in one locale. We look forward to seeing readers at FABTECH and invite you to come by our booth, 8012, to say hello.

David A. Belforte
belforte@pennwell.com

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