A couple of weeks ago I got IABC's World Conference brochure in the mail.
The conference is June 6-9 in Toronto and I can't go because that week I'm covering a rodeo school in Cody, Wyo.
(That's right, a rodeo school. What's it to you?)
So I set the brochure aside.
I didn't throw it away, because the IABC conference brochure is a perennial column or blog item: I leaf through and cherry-pick windbaggiest, most overblown session titles that bespeak an association flattering its members with self-important pretensions and professional pieties.
Finally, I got around to leafing through this year's book—and found not a single bogus session description.
My built-in, shock-proof bullshit detector must be worn out. For all these years, I took it, like a sump pump, for granted. And now it doesn't work.
I went back through the brochure.
"Engage employees to out-behave the competition."
"In this session, participants will be introduced to the five Brand Integrity Dimensions that serve as the foundation for building a visible and powerful brand for any organization. When implemented through employee behaviors, the dimensions dramatically enhance the work culture and drive consistently good, profitable customer experiences."
Okay, that's a little bullshitty. It's Bullshit Light.
And there's also the obligatory smarmy day-three keynote: Two hopelessly young white fellows, organizers of a "youth empowerment" outfit called Free The Children, are giving a session cloyingly titled, "Me to We: How to help employees find meaning in a material world."
Well, there has to be some time to go to the hotel bar guilt-free.
So my b.s.-detector is working, and these are the only bullshit sessions I can find among the dozens in the brochure? Guess I picked the wrong year to miss the IABC show.
Bravo, IABC. Have a great conference.
As for the annual brochure critique: I guess I'll have to wait 'til next year.