Tuesday May 6, 2014

How Not to Handle Meeting Attendees

We went to a meeting last night. We've been to many meetings, at many venues, throughout the SF Bay Area over the past 10 years but this one was ... different. The security for the venue was both overdone and seemingly naive at the same time.

Venue: Silicon Valley tech company. "Training room". Sign in at the front desk. Security person on duty. Fairly standard.

Event registration was handled through EventBrite. I registered two people (myself and a "+1"). $20 each. I brought my receipt with me just in case. Again. fairly standard.

When we arrived, the people at the front desk had a list of names. Rich's name wasn't on the list. They had no idea how to handle a "+1". Literally, no idea. I was sent to talk to the woman who handled logistics for the meeting.

That woman was very unhappy. She kept repeating over and over that This Was Why they required everyone to send in their name in advance. She had Sent Me Email (I never got it) because They Needed Everyone's Name. (I didn't get the email).

She told two additional people that she had Sent Me Email (I never got it) She was obviously quite annoyed with me. She was very busy and I was causing her Difficulties.

We walked out to the front desk to explain that I had indeed pre-registered two people and hadn't provided the name for the second in advance.

You might think we would then add Rich's name to the list, sign him in, hand him a visitor's badge, and be good to go, but it was more complicated than that.

I said they had a list of names. In fact, they had copied those names (in nearly illegible cursive) onto 60 individual sheets of paper and laid those out for the attendees to find their name. The sheets had multiple questions to check off yes or no: Are you US citizen or do you have a Green card? Have you ere been deported? Etc.

This for attending a 2-hour meeting at a Bay Area tech company.

But wait, there's more!

After checking the boxes and signing the paper, every attendee was also given a visitor's badge as well as a key card that would open the door to the back area where the training room was. A key card. For a two-hour meeting.

We're not done yet.

All this "security" -- name in advance, are you a citizen, sign the paper, etc... and yet no one ever asked for ID.

The company where the meeting was held describes itself as "a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications". We've gone through less "security" to attend meetings at the CMU extension building at Nasa/Moffet Field.

So are these people

  • concerned about security,
  • pretending to be concerned about security,
  • totally clueless about security,
  • playing a strange game of security theater,
one or more of the above?

We got Rich a sheet of paper. He added his own name to the top and signed it. The desk person handed him a paper badge. We declined a second key card.

I doubt that we will be attending any more meetings with this group or at this venue.

I wonder how many of those keycards accidentally leave the building after any given meeting.

How Not to Handle Meeting Attendees ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 06 May, 09:40 Pacific | «e»

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