Lunch ‘n’ learning with IABC

I just got back from an incredibly inspiring lunch ‘n’ learn hosted by IABC Saskatoon. For those who aren’t aware, IABC stands for the International Association of Business Communicators. I’m happy to participate on the Saskatoon board as the membership co-chair.

The speaker was the uber-energetic Jeph Maystruck, of Regina’s Strategy Lab. His talk was called, Finding your moustache: how to stand out in a clean-shaven world. Here are a few great little tidbits I took away from his lively talk:

1. If your staff aren’t having fun, your customers won’t either. Just think of flying WestJet versus Air Canada. We’ve all heard West Jet flight attendants sing and tell jokes. They seem genuinely happy to be there when they say “Let’s get this Boeing going!” Now compare that to your experience flying Air Canada…

2. Instead of a big media buy, invest your money in great production. Companies spend a tonne on advertising. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. Start putting some of those marketing dollars into quality production. Maybe you find a talented video production company to create a 30 second clip that pulls at the heartstrings of potential clients. Maybe you hire the best web designer to create a site that solves a problem or entertains. Either way, don’t pour every penny into ad buys…invest money into the quality of what you’re putting out there.

3. If you don’t get push back, it’s probably not a very good idea. Everyone who wants to shake things up and try something different is going to meet resistance. The thing is, if a new idea was easy or obvious you likely would have already tried it. Big, new ideas require hard work, change and effort and there will always be people ready to tell you why it can’t be done. Do it anyway.

4. If in doubt, add a cat. Ok, this was more of a joke about viral videos…but it was Jeph’s way of saying that you can entertain no matter how ‘boring’ your industry might seem. Citing insurance as an example of the epitome of boring industries, he played the  commercial below – proving that you can make insurance fun if you incorporate parachuting cats.

Lastly, I’ll leave with an awesome quote from one of the stickers Jeph left behind as takeaways. I do love a good sticker.

Don’t believe people who use the word ‘impossible.’ Everything was impossible at one time: cars, planes, submarines, rocket ships, rock ‘n’ roll music, instagram. Every major breakthrough our society has ever had is because someone didn’t listen to someone else and did something impossible. Dream big, do the impossible.

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