“Oh CRAP! AV Month is half over?? I’m not ready. We forgot to make plans! We haven’t done ANYTHING!”
For years, I’ve heard (and occasionally uttered) this manic refrain once October rolls around – though back in the day it was more like “Oh CRAP! AV Week was last week?? We missed it.”
The fact is, as working AV professionals it is sometimes difficult to stop the day to day of business and projects to plan and execute any kind of strategy for celebrating AV Month. This is particularly challenging for those of us who work in the government sector. August and September are the end of the federal fiscal year and every customer wants to spend their budgets before they lose it. Come October 1st, when we should be kicking off our AV Month events, we’re often hip deep in fulfilling those end-of-fiscal contracts or pushing the new-year-money contracts through the pipeline. It’s rather inconveniently timed.
AV Month is important. It’s is a time to be proud to be a working AV professional. A time to celebrate our fellow #avtweeps. A time to share all the amazing things our industry does with the world at large and educate end users, buyers, average folks and, most importantly, potential future AV professionals about what we do and why it is awesome. There are so many cool and amazing things that we are supposed to do during AV Month and too often they go undone in the mad rush of actually doing our jobs.
What if I told you that we’re doing it wrong?
Obviously, we want to support InfoComm in their annual efforts to the best of our ability but actively advocating for our field should not be confined to a single week or month. Speaking out about what we do should be an ongoing part of our lives; evangelizing for brands and technologies, sharing our passion. Actress Jayne Atkinson recently said, “Every day, do something to move the ball forward.” Each and every day, we have to take a few minutes out of our lives – in the workplace or in our personal lives – and do something to advance our industry or our company. It doesn’t have to be huge. Chat with a neighbor or a fellow at the gym about what you do. Talk to young people in your community about future plans and make sure they know that AV is an option worth considering. When working on a customer’s site, let them know about other products or services you can offer beyond the scope of that particular project and give them the name of your sales or marketing staff to discuss it further. Tweet or blog or Snapchat about cool AV things on the regular. It doesn’t have to be a major outreach event during a specific month to make a difference.
Of course, if you love the excitement and challenge of a large scale thing you can find those opportunities beyond the confines of AV Month as well. Look around your region, your state, your county. Different agencies and municipalities hold events, as do Tech Councils, Chambers of Commerce, Business Councils, even schools and libraries hold events and are usually looking for volunteers and participants. For my own company, we reach out to the local Community College to speak at STEM Club meetings. We speak at the county Tech Council’s Ignite events about AV and technology. We take part in networking meetings at nearby military bases and bring along our soapbox to preach the good AV word. And I’m currently talking to local hosts of Maryland STEM Festival events next month to see how we can help.
While AV Month is awesome and we’ll keep supporting it (when we remember or have the time), by just opening our eyes and keeping an ear to the ground, there are countless other events and opportunities year-round to share the awesomeness of the AV industry. [Shameless plug – Never hesitate to reach out to AVNation! We’re always looking for a few good guest bloggers and podcast guests among the citizens of the AVNation!]
At the end of the day, true success for individuals, companies and our industry won’t come from the actions of a single month, but rather the concerted efforts – consistent, even if small – year round. As motivational speaker Joe Sabah said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”