From the Executive Director

Access is king

How vital is communication to your daily business? Take time to reflect on the different types of communication that you use in your business as well as in your personal life. Now evaluate your modes of communication for effectiveness and efficiency. Often, we allow increased efficiency to compromise effectiveness. An example might be e-mail, which is extremely efficient, but can lose a great deal of meaning and effectiveness in the process. The true value of communication is frequently lost in the impersonal world of digital translation.

As a traditionalist, I place great value on communication that is person-to-person, without the computer or fax machine as the go-between. The AASV Annual Meeting is a great study in interpersonal communication. Over 800 participants come together in one place for 4 days of education, conversation, and fellowship. The value of this meeting goes well beyond the formal presentations within the seminars and sessions. David Reeves said it best when he commented "there are a thousand presentations going on in the hallways" during the meeting.

The efficiency of face-to-face meetings such as the AASV Annual Meeting is sometimes questioned. The key to success in communication (like so many things!) dependson how much you put into it. If you limit yourself to attending only the educational sessions, then you have missed tremendous opportunities to learn, teach, and participate. If you took the time to interact with a speaker, colleague, future colleague, company representative, or other member of the pork industry, then you know what I mean.

Recently, I read an opinion that "access is king" in today's information age. Access to information is a vital factor in professional and personal growth. Consider the access you gain during the AASV Annual Meeting:

  • 135 speakers;
  • More than 650 veterinarians from around the world;
  • 46 commercial companies;
  • The officers and Board of Directors of the AASV.

Access generates participation and awareness. Both of these open the doors to activeand self-directed learning and, as well, set the stage for future communication. Without access, you may be left with unanswered questions and the dangers of misinterpretation. With access, you gain the ability to initiate and continue a dialogue that leverages both parties' knowledge, experience, and skills. The synergy that often arises from face-to-face communication cannot be experienced over the Internet or via a fax.

The other factor that is missing from digital communication is the emotion that can be communicated in person. A jolt of "flight or fight" adrenaline from a controversial speaker may be a good way to jar us out of our lethargy and into action. The fun and excitement from the Foundation auction is not found on an Internet auction. The heart-felt outpouring of feelings from award winners cannot be duplicated via fax. It is the emotion of communication that reminds us that we are human.

One of the great strengths of the AASV is the Annual Meeting. It is a venue for personal and professional development through communication with one another. You could measure its value by the dollars spent in registration fees, lodging costs, and airfares.

If you are so inclined to benchmark your life, you could quantify a value through the number of "key contacts" you made during the meeting. You could count the number of practice tips you heard in the sessions and the hallway. However, simple quantification will never capture the true value found at the heart of the meeting. The best measure is found in your own satisfaction that you were there, you learned, you taught, and you participated in the process of communication. You had access!

Do you have access to the information you need? How can AASV enhance the value, efficiency, and effectiveness of our communication? We will never know unless you communicate!

--Tom Burkgren