Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 2012

Mark Scharenbroich: Acknowledge+honor+connect=Nice Bike

Christopher Durso
Mark Scharenbroich ConveneFor Mark Scharenbroich, it all began in August 2003, when he happened to be driving through Milwaukee on his way to a professional-speaking gig and stumbled on Harley-Davidson’s 100th-anniversary celebration. He pulled over to see what was going on, and soon was wandering among the thousands of bikers who had gathered for the party. He kept hearing them say the same thing to each other, over and over: “Nice bike.”

The next day, speaking before a group of educators, “I was just ad-libbing, talking about that experience,” Scharenbroich said, “and I said, ‘You know, what you do with students every day is what I just experienced. You “nice bike” kids. You acknowledge who they are, you honor them with attention and passion to serve, and you connect with them. When you connect with kids, great things happen in schools.’ ”
 
On that foundation, Scharenbroich has built the Nice Bike approach for creating meaningful, emotional connections between people, rooted in three principles: acknowledge, honor, and connect. Recently, he gave Convene a preview of how he’ll share that at the PCMA Education Conference.

Can you explain the three components of Nice Bike - acknowledge, honor, connect?

Acknowledge is awareness of what's up in front of you - what changes you need to make, the questions you need to ask. Honor is about serving others with a sense of passion; it’s not what’s important to you but what’s important to them. And then finally, to connect - to make more meaningful experiences.

You talk about creating meaningful connections with emotional bonds. How do you mean that?

An emotional bond is one that leads to experience, one that leads to growth. It’s a feeling you got when you were in junior high and the first day you are standing there with your tray in the cafeteria looking for a place to sit down, and all of a sudden, somebody gives a wave over there at that table, and life is grand at that point. It’s that experience of, who I am and what I do - it matters.

Just by bringing together people with a shared profession or a shared mission, it seems like a meeting or convention would be poised to tap that.

It does. I mean, it’s funny to see some people at meetings, just staring at their iPhone. Because it’s safe. It’s comfortable. If I just look at my iPhone, people think I’m reading email or checking stuff, that way I don’t have to interact with other people. And sometimes it scares the beegeebers out of people just to interact. But when they do interact, when they do have that face-to-face, eye-to-eye - where are you from, what do we have in common, what are some of the best practices? - their meeting experience gets a whole lot better.

What do you hope that your audience at PCMA takes away from your presentation?

Number one, I want to support the great work that they do, and number two, give them memorable tools that are callbacks a week, a month, a year later. I want to give them effective tools as far as how they can help maybe make better connections with their team, and with the people that they work with both personally and professionally. And I want to be a little bit different - I don’t want to fall into the same bucket as “ we've heard that kind of guy before.” 

For more information: nicebike.com

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