Jenny’s Customer Service Expo and Conference Experience

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Last Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference.

For an overall summary of the entire event, check out Jeff Toister’s fantastic recap on his blog by clicking here.

If you know me, you know I love to talk but I have not done too many speaking events, and never one at a large conference. I began the day by sending a text to Jeremy telling him that I was too nervous and can’t do the speech after all.

Then, followed up, with a “just kidding”. But, I wasn’t kidding about being nervous. I had practically bitten off all of my finger nails at this point.

I have to give serious props to the amazing Jeff Toister and Heather Magaha for giving advice on what to do and what not to do during the speech. Here’s what I took away:

  • I had my speech guide on my Kindle, ready to go for reading in front of the crowd. I guess I was prepared to use it as a crutch to help me stay focused for the panel. Jeff insisted that I didn’t use it. He said, “You know what you’re talking about, right? Just be yourself; honest and real!”
  • Jeff also encouraged me to arrive a bit early to the presentation and mingle with the crowd. With me and all my awkward glory, I did end up standing at the door and casually welcoming people into the room with a big smile.
  • Heather shared how much she’s learned along the way with all of her speaking events. “It gets easier over time” she told me. I believe it because she was incredibly relaxed up there in front of the 100 person audience.

Our session was titled “Incentive Programs that Drive Performance“. While we don’t have a formal incentive program in place at, in January, I had set out on a mission to develop something to incorporate into our fun and friendly culture. We ended up with a program more focused on peer recognition and focusing more on motivating our team by nominating each other for “random acts of awesome”. My speech was all about the journey we took of developing this program for our customer service team for a small business.

Heather, coming from a large corporations had an entirely different perspective on incentive programs, one that included a process that was much more formal.

At one point, Jeff brought up the question to me:

When it comes to incentive programs, should the processes differ between a small company versus a large company?

Of course, being the person I am, thought about my reply, looked out on the large group of professional business folks and said:

Well, size shouldn’t matter!

The room erupted in laughter. And one attendee, Nicholas W., snapped a picture and quoted me on the ICMI daily check in app (see above). Ah, and what a professional moment to be etched in time!

Overall, my experience was one of learning and growing. I had an incredible time and look forward to future speaking events.


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