Virtual Trade Shows - Technology Bursts...7-27-97

I came in off the road a couple of days ago with marvelous memories of presenting at the National Speakers Association Annual Convention in California. Presenting for one's peers is always a challenge and an honor. And being on the same program as Lou Holtz, Harvey McKay, and Stephen Covey just added to the joy. Catching up with the latest news while working on projects for clients, I found some items that appear to have a common thread of interest to all of us.

Tackling technology with either trepidation or tenacity, the ever-increasing use of the Internet via use of Web sites, dealing with a survey showing higher stress levels reported among workers, the GM strike fall-out, and a land shift that jolted life. Let me explain. Meeting professionals, speaking professionals, and marketing consultants make their livelihood on the dissemination of information. With more than 40 million people online, the Internet, and its graphical Web interface, is being used to enhance communication as a strategic resource.

Many trade shows have "gone virtual." METCON tackled some solutions for what products and services work best in their first technology conference, and are hard at work on another one. Home buying on the Net is getting easier and more popular all the time. Multiple Listing Service data can now be had free on the Internet. You can also use your computer to find the final sale prices of nearby houses. The way consumers are finding information is changing rapidly. Roles are changing and professionals have to keep up with the changes, and be knowledgeable of how to keep up and track information. Contact management programs will be a must for any business who wants to increase their sales.

In the midst of all of this, a recent British study reveals that a feeling of little or no control at work contributes to a greater risk for heart disease. The study showed the following: bosses appear to be a big source of job stress; people in low-status jobs had a significantly larger risk of heart disease; this association was not with high demand but with low control; companies need to deal with the forces that impinge on people's lives by giving them as many options as possible. GM and the UAW have reached a contract proposal that has ended a strike that shut down five plants in Michigan and Canada and idled nearly 20,000 employees. Apparently the membership was happy with their contract agreement as it was approved by 89.4% of the 1,082 workers who voted. Trimming the workforce, and outsourcing, two moves designed to cut costs for GM, were factors in this year's strikes.

However, job security is gone, and has been for some time. What to do about it? IBM is a prime example of a computer giant who was ailing just four years ago, yet has achieved one of the most remarkable corporate turnarounds in American history. IBM's market value, for the first time in 10 years, has topped $100 billion, its shares are trading at record levels, and a two-for-one stock split was announced in January. How have they done it? Lou Gerstner, a tough and controversial CEO, who's a man in a hurry and a hard worker. Sales from Lotus Notes and cc:Mail rose 60% in 1996. Shipments of IBM PCs rose 27% last year. Although Gerstner knew little about computers, he knew their problem was lousy management. He attacked the elitist culture and instructed salesmen to find out what customers really wanted and then make sure they gave it to them.

A report out by scientists on Friday showed that 500 million years ago, the unprecedented burst of life that occurred on all major continents - both on land and in the sea - likely resulted from the environmental upheaval that occurred when tropical continents became cold and frigid continents thawed. I submit that we're witnessing an unprecedented burst of technology that, if embraced by combining high tech with high touch, could keep our customers warm and our companies hotter than ever. Something to think about on my first Sunday night back home in three weeks. I'm doing my part - how about you?

MarleneB.Brown,CEO:MarmeL Consulting Firm,POBox 83,ClarkMills,NY 13321 Speaker/Consultant Tel: 315/853-1318 Fax: 315/853-4636 Email: marlenebb7 Topics: Future Change& Technology, Leadership&Teamwork, Sales&Marketing Author: the book "TechnoTouch:Managing Change for 21st Century Leadership"© & "TechnoTouch Marketing Trends"© a bi-monthly newsletter. Visit our Web site at:

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