I’m on my way home after speaking at a national conference where I was asked by a participant to sign his conference planner. At first I was flattered, thinking he knew that I was a published author. My excitement quickly turned to dismay when he told me that he needed to obtain signatures to prove to his employer he had attended the sessions that were being presented at the conference. Imagine how demeaning that must have felt for him to have to say those words to me.
How on earth do signatures on a piece of paper prove the attendee was actually present? For all his boss knows, the bartender could have signed the papers. And who’s to say that showing up actually means someone is present?
Conference attendees who are more engaged with their Blackberries than with the presenter are not fully present. But I suppose we have to trust they are listening because they are occupying a seat in the room.
Trust me, if you hire good people and you believe in them, you won’t have to resort to idiotic practices that create an environment of mistrust all around.