From the desk of Laura Duguid
This week I attended my first Quirks Event. Having submitted an application and been accepted to speak at the event in Brooklyn, NY, my emotions prior were a mix of nervousness and excitement. Of course, as we all know, work doesn’t stop when we decide to attend these gatherings. And, if your job is anything like mine, project work has a tendency to multiply the closer the conference date – and the planned time away from the office – gets. To this end, I began to ask myself, “Should I still go?” “What to do?!” (Everyone has those moments, right?)
Well, of course I didn’t bail. I was proud to have been invited to speak, and certainly wanted to fulfill my commitment. So off I went, from Chicago to New York for two days – and it was wonderful! The exhibitors and session speakers were all abuzz about innovative tools, platforms and approaches – mostly digital – that raise the results bar in the research game. I felt immersed in the future and it looked fantastic!
But the thing that stands out most about my experience at the Quirks Event Brooklyn was the sense of camaraderie I felt that transcended industry relationships. Exhibitors, marketing researchers, insights directors and managers, academics, and ad execs – just to name a few – had all gathered for a common goal: exploring how to achieve new heights in top quality research. Refreshingly, I found the tone of the event to be more like a great big information share instead of all about networking. It was an inspiring experience that served to remind me we’re all on the same team and have the same goal: to produce insightful, actionable information at the highest level.
And speaking of the highest level, what conference would be complete without a swag bag? The Quirks Event Brooklyn did not disappoint. Here’s a closing story that reveals some of the goody bag highlights:
Sitting at one of the high-top tables in the exhibit hall, I use my jar opener to uncap a fresh bottle of water. I slip the bottle into my new coozie to keep it chilled and scan the speaker schedule with a magnifying glass so as not to miss any important details. I circle several options with my puzzle pen. I have a bit of time before the first speaker, so I indulge in some levity and read a book of witticisms. Time’s up so I pack my notebook and head to the conference room. The speaker is wonderful – informative and engaging. But wait! My turn to speak is just around the corner! I pop a piece of gum into my mouth and grab the stress ball to tame my nerves as I dash to Conference Room One. Up at the podium I use the lens cloth to wipe down the laptop screen. With two minutes to go I apply a swipe of lip balm to assure the words come out smoothly. And three…two…one…show time: Emotional Engagement Through Customer Empathy—Tapping the Power of Live Streaming Mobile Interviewing.