Monday, November 12, 2007

NFRC Meeting Survival Guide: Don’t leave home without it.

—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor, e-glass weekly

Why don’t more industry players attend NFRC meetings? Ever since the group starting work on a commercial window rating program five thousand years ago, NFRC members have been rallying to get everyone from architects to building owners, contract glaziers to manufacturers, celebrity stylists to American Idol finalists, to the meetings. Yet, attendance hasn’t really increased.

Perhaps the problem is perception? NFRC meetings seem, to the inexperienced observer, to be three-and-a-half tedious days of task groups, acronyms and technical fenestration jargon. But, beneath the tech-y overtones, NFRC meetings have a lot to offer, including some glass industry debates that put “Crossfire” to shame.

To encourage more participation, I decided to create The NFRC Meeting Survival Guide. Follow these few instructions, and NFRC meetings become rainbows and butterflies.

Don’t be afraid to exercise some anger. Good knock-down-drag-out fights debates define NFRC meetings and often lead to some great progress. But don’t make things personal. No one involved the NFRC process is your enemy; inefficient fenestration products are the enemy!

Don’t be afraid to exercise some laughter. A good laugh at NFRC energizes everyone. But, avoid lame jokes—they hurt more than they help (present blog excepted).

Always partake in snack time. Nothing compares to NFRC afternoon snack time. Nachos, cookies and ice cream (oh my!). I promise, a Ben & Jerry’s chocolate dipped ice cream bar has never tasted so sweet as during a Solar Heat Gain Subcommittee meeting.

Know your acronyms. NFRC meetings are worse than the Justin Timberlake 4eva chat room when it comes to acronyms. (OMG, DEGT GF!) The meeting handbook provides definitions for all of the commonly used acronyms, so you’ll never have to worry about not understanding phrases like: “check the PCP for the role of the ACE and IA in the CMA.” (WT?)

Go to the party. Nothing—aside from the aforementioned snack time—takes the edge off a day of NFRC talk than a few libations enjoyed with fellow fenestration folks at the reception and dinner. NFRC’s Cheryl Gendron plans some killer parties, often filled with live music and amazing food in even more amazing settings.

Bring a sweater. Hotels tend to keep their conference rooms at a steady 0 degrees (-17.8 degrees Celsius, 255.37 Kelvin, to my metric-system readers). Come prepared! I recommend a sweater, possibly a jacket, gloves, hat and emergency hypothermia blanket, if you easily catch cold.

Watch for distractions. The meetings do drag on at times. But, keep your eyes and ears peeled for exciting distractions. My favorite distraction at the latest meeting was a bird (a spy from ASTM perhaps?) that flew into the conference room, soaring from chandelier to chandelier, taking notes, until it finally figured out where the door was. And left. Very suspicious. Very dramatic. Very distracting.

Find the perfect caffeine intake. No matter how hungover sleepy you might be the morning after one of Cheryl’s parties, make sure you don’t over-do it on the coffee. Jitters at NFRC can be disastrous. You never know what you might say at the microphone if you’ve had too many! So, know your limits and stick to them.

Check your wireless connection. Not even thumb twiddling and doodles will get you through one of these meetings easily. Make sure your computer’s wireless functions properly before the meeting so you can stay connected to the world outside.

Read glassblog. No explanation needed.

Leave a comment to share your own survival techniques … I know you’ve got ’em!


Lorin Hancock said...

Hey, why do you always get to cover the NFRC meetings? That's totally not fair! I am more than capable of doing six of the ten things you mentioned.

Katy Devlin said...

Not everyone can be as lucky as me. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe the frigid temps keep people awake?

Steph said...

Thanks, Katy, for your helpful hints on how to get through the conference! I was completely lost until I read this blog! now I know what to do for NEXT year.

And this blog was, as always, exceptionally well written and entertaining.

Greg Carney said...

Hi Katy! You forgot to mention that you were the person that saved the bird! I noticed that you saw the bird, got up from the "free Internet" and went to open the door to freedom (I considered dashing for the door myself).

Thank you for being in Tempe to report on the action -- wish you could have stayed for the "FUN" on Thursday morning with the NFRC Board of Directors.