You can always tell a good party by the buzz. I don’t mean the kind that one gets when too many adult beverages have been quaffed. Rather, I’m writing of the buzz one feels when one walks into a room.
At one point in my career I worked in the convention and trade-show sector. The mantra was, if you want to put on a great party for a thousand people, put it into a room that holds 500. Instant buzz.
Yesterday, I stopped by the National Emergency Communications Conference, which the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications conveniently placed in Chicago, where I work. Roughly 400 public-safety communications officials were gathered, some from as far away as Guam. After introductory remarks by OEC Director Chris Essid, the group — which was scattered among numerous large, round banquet tables — was asked to talk among themselves and trade ideas.
This is where the rubber meets the road at any event. It’s how you can tell whether people want to be at the event, or have to be there. If it’s the former, they go through the motions. If it’s the latter, they engage. Yesterday they engaged.
The buzz in the room was noticeable — it sounded as if dozens of cell phones set on vibrate mode all went off at the same time. One of Essid’s stated goals for the OEC’s National Emergency Communications Plan is to break down the silos that have retarded progress toward interoperable communications. By that measure, yesterday was a good day.