How many times have you had a great story to tell, yet there was no one to listen to it? You know the kind — when you are lying in your bed, unable to sleep because you’ve just come up with a great idea.

I get those thoughts all of the time — and no, these aren’t headaches. These are ideas that I like to share with other people. I have a strange combination of a “type A” brain and a “type B” personality. I think of myself as an idea person, but unless I have a keyboard with me at all times, I fail to capitalize on my active imagination.

I attend many contractor meetings and admire the speakers and moderators — often average, everyday people — who can articulate an idea or tell a story without getting stage fright. I give an occasional speech for some of these meetings, but, to be honest, many of the people who speak in front of these groups are way out of my league.

It was with these thoughts that I went away from a recent International Service Leadership (ISL) meeting with a new challenge. There were many HVACR contractors at that meeting who got up in front of others and shared their own success stories in the hope that other members would benefit from their experiences.

These are people who represent some of the best of our business, showing professionalism and passion for their craft that I would challenge any other industry to emulate.

With all of the success and “feel-good stories” abounding at meetings like this ISL gathering, why don’t contractors share the wealth with others? Namely, those in the general public who don’t have a clue as the level of professionalism in our trade.

I hear a lot of real good stories at these meetings, business management stories that demonstrate how many successful contractors we have across the United States. But the problem is, we spend all of our time at these meetings preaching to the choir. We know how great we are. Why not set aside a block of time to tell someone else who will listen?

One of the benefits of belonging to contractor groups or associations — aside from the camaraderie — is the ability to generate and share ideas with others. I personally think that idea sharing is the most important facet of a group or association meeting, and I’m not about to suggest any fundamental changes to the game plan.

I would, however, like to propose an addition.

Why not set aside a block of time in a meeting agenda and invite the local media to attend a brainstorming session at the site?


I’m not talking about giving away the farm or sharing any insider secrets. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. On the contrary, I’m suggesting that we share some of our feel-good stories with the local media.

I’m sure there are many stories out there about contractors who have done something nice for their community. Maybe the gesture wasn’t important enough to make the “10 O’Clock News,” but it was enough to make the difference in the lives of some people in the community. I bet you can think of one right now, off the top of your head.

So here is a roomful of successful, professional businesspeople — HVACR contractors — who articulate well and communicate effective messages to their peers. What better platform than this to tell the mainstream media (as well as trade journalists like myself) about the good things that HVACR contractors stand for?

The next time you are planning your meeting agenda, please keep my idea in mind. In the meantime, I’m going to do some lobbying of my own and see if I can get some members of the media in my community to participate in an upcoming contractor meeting.

Anybody with me?

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-542-6214; 734-542-6215 (fax); or (e-mail).

Publication date: 09/02/2002