I recently hosted a talk for the CQI, around personality preferences. Not being a member of the CQI myself, I had done my homework and attended a previous event to get the lay of the land. I had prepared my presentation with the audience in mind, and contacted the host to confirm requirements at the venue. All was good, or so I thought!
Leave in plenty of time. Park up and walk in. Arrive with time to spare. Set up. Mingle with audience and remember all their names. Host an engaging, yet practical presentation. Get some photos for promotional use. Ensure audience got something useful from the session.
On the date in question, I left in plenty of time only to be faced with my first obstacle. A massive traffic jam! As the minutes began to disappear I started to feel a sense of unease. With nothing to do but wish the traffic away, I finally reached my destination, but I could no longer park where I had intended to, because the walking distance was now not an option due to running late. So, I abandoned the car and hoped to return later with neither ticket nor clamp.
At least I'd arrived! But it became apparent that my woes weren’t over yet! While the host tried her best to help, there was no one from the venue at hand to offer any guidance on setting up. On any other day this probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but when I realised my laptop had the ‘wrong’ connection port, it would have been helpful to have had someone there. No worries, I can use my USB… if only I’d packed it!
I’ll use the flip-charts, oh wait, there aren’t any! OK whiteboards it is, ummm no pens! If only I’d bought the handouts instead of thinking I'd be all environmentally friendly and email them afterwards! Time to calm down and grab a glass of water. Yep, you’ve guessed it! No water!
In those last few minutes before everyone was due to enter the room, I dug deep into my two decades of experience in training and L&D, and scribbled down a few notes about how I was going to run this highly visual presentation with just post-it notes and a smile. (At least experience was on my side!)
Then something happened that changed my fortunes. The audience stepped in to help. One managed to get my presentation on the screen, which was no mean feat! Another found me a glass of water and placed it on the presentation area, completely unprompted. Another opened her own bottle of water and poured it into my empty cup which I had been wondering around with. And then all of them, yes all of them, filtered into the room. Still with open minds and smiles. And then they engaged fully in the session with no external judgement of my, quite frankly, rather unprofessional set up.
I'd like to thank my audience for such compassion and interaction in the session. (I’d love to share a photo of them in this post but the only photo I have from that night is the one illustrated here as the camera took it upon itself to stop working!)
When talking to people who want to get into training, I always mention that resilience is key, but my goodness it helps enormously when you have people around you who actually want you to succeed!!
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!