Vision 2016 was Terrific!

Last weekend, I had the privilege to present my second-ever training class for Mitchell 1 at the Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo, the first having been in 2012. This one was titled “Shop Management Unleashed: Optimizing Repair Shop Efficiency.” And to do it justice, I put together as many topics as I could to establish as much awareness as possible in the three-hour time slot I was given.

Hello from the show floor - selfie taken at Vision 2016

Hello from Vision 2016!

So there I was back in January, putting all the content together, re-sequencing it, and imagining how attendees would react to it. I aimed to provide a fast-paced overview of what the Manager SE software can do natively, but more importantly, I wanted to show shop owners how it could revolutionize their daily workflow and also their marketing efforts.

Sitting at my desk in January, I could only speculate about the weather and interest level during my assigned time slot – 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., the end of the day on a Saturday, in March. I had been told the class registration was approaching the 80 attendee limit. And I was wondering whether maybe my students would bail out of my session. I mean, by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, maybe they would have had enough, having been at the show and attending other classes for a day or two already.

Well, as it turned out, the March weather was sunny and 62 degrees (was this really Kansas City in March?). So, naturally, I expected some people would indeed take the opportunity to leave the show. Boy, was I wrong! At 2:30 on Saturday, the A/V guy came by to help set up the projector, and we already had a few people in the room. By 2:40, the room was filling up and they kept coming.

I introduced myself and launched the class promptly at 3:00 to a packed room. When I asked who was using Manager SE, nearly every hand went up. “Is there anybody using a 5.9 version?” Silence. So I added… “Who is willing to admit it?” Laughter. Then I added, “It’s okay if you are, I think you’re gonna love what you see and then we can get you upgraded.”

Full house at the Mitchell 1 shop management seminar!

Full house at the Mitchell 1 shop management seminar!

I explained that rather than go all deep and technical on a handful of items, I was going to show them MANY ideas they could incorporate. Since, after all, this class was about unleashing potential and seeing new possibilities. I turned up my mic (and my energy level) to get a nice flow going. There were a few questions (always), yet we still managed to keep the good vibe going.

Before the class, I had had a last-minute idea to copy the PDF version of my presentation to some flash drives. I had 25 of them and brought them along with me. During the session, I mentioned that I had these, “if anybody wanted one.” At the break folks lined up and I promptly ran out. So I started taking business cards and scraps of paper with email addresses so that I could share the presentation with them later. Usually, a handful of people show enough interest to ask for copies of the presentation, so this really caught me by surprise!

My show was 115 slides. That seems like a lot, but I had really agonized, shuffled and edited in January in order to present the right amount of content and allow time for questions. In the final analysis, I was not too far off — we finished just before the published 6:00 ending time.

What a terrific group of students! I would say the success of the class can be judged by these related factors: 1) The weather was extremely nice, yet they all showed up; 2) It was the end of a long day for many, yet the room was full; 3) Other classes were less than half full at this same time, while our Mitchell 1 shop management class was standing room only; and 4) everybody wanted a copy of this presentation.

Given all of these factors together, I believe that we did accomplish the goal of contributing to the overall value of attending Vision 2016. Thank you to everyone who came by and visited the Mitchell 1 booth, and who attended this session – your engagement and enthusiasm were truly appreciated!

Click to see a few more pictures from Vision 2016 on the Mitchell 1 Facebook page

Click the image to see a few more pictures from Vision 2016 on the Mitchell 1 Facebook page

About the Author

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell first joined Mitchell 1 in 1985 and is a senior product marketing manager for Manager SE. He has experience with various Mitchell 1 products and is the company’s primary media developer for product training assets and a subject matter expert in shop management software and other Mitchell 1 products. He also served as the Vice-Chair of the AMI Board of Trustees from 2009-2015. He is also the “voice of Mitchell 1” – you’ll hear him on the recorded message when you call the Mitchell 1 office.