Five Lessons from The 2010 European Tour

Stephen Greesnetd

Istanbul, the Bosphorus and me

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll probably know that I have been busy in mainland Europe, principally teaching digital marketing.

I’m beginning to reach the end of my 2010 European Tour, and therefore thought that this is a good time to review some lessons from the tour.

I’ve been to Athens, Warsaw, Kiev, Paris and Istanbul. Aarhus is next, and then Copenhagen. I’ve just finished at Istanbul’s Bilgi University where I was teaching digital marketing on behalf of  Turkey’s Foundation of Advertising.

Here are five key lessons from this tour so far:

  1. Don’t leave for the meeting without a very thorough pre-meeting briefing. Will I be met at the airport? Where is the hotel? If I’m delayed, is Room Service available 24 hours a day? Where is the conference? How do I get there? Does the conference room have a substantial digital projector and sound system?
  2. How many attendees will there be? What are they expecting? What is their level of experience and seniority?
  3. Is there a common language? Since I only speak English, the common language will have to be English.
  4. If there is no common language, will I have a simultaneous translator?
  5. Can I get into the conference room at least an hour before we start work, partly to rehearse and partly to make sure that PowerPoint’s internal video links are not shredded by my Windows laptop being connected to a projector? I ask because they always are.

Here are ten dramas and disasters for which you’d better have a plan:

  1. Your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  2. You get to the hotel. It is locked for the night.
  3. There is no food or drink in the hotel available owing to the lateness of your arrival, and the hotel has no record of your host having agreed to pay your bill.
  4. You can’t get into the conference room at the time you were assured it would be open.
  5. Your laptop is incompatible with the projector.
  6. Nobody understands a word you say.
  7. You have double the amount of attendees you have been told to expect.
  8. You have half the amount of attendees you have been told to expect.
  9. You expected students. They are actually all senior management from large advertising networks.
  10. You expected senior management from large advertising networks. They are actually all students.

Finally, check to see how many airports the city has. If it has more than one, make sure you know from which airport you will be departing. And, if you think I’m being facetious, you’re wrong. Istanbul has two, as I found out, recently, the hard way.

That said, when things go well, as they unimpeachably did in Kiev, the experience is a delight.

And when things do go wrong, there is a grim satisfaction in using a pre-planned strategy to get out of a hole. In my case, I caught my flight home from Istanbul with 20 minutes to spare. Result.