From the back of the ballroom, the lighting slowly grew brighter while the presenter walked onto the stage to the jazz sounds of Miles Davis playing in the background. The applause grew louder, the entrance music was subtle and befitting the caliber of presenter entering the room. The walkie talkie buzzed with a 1 minute warning that the entry doors were being closed as the last participant rushed to take a seat to hear the presenter’s powerful message.
Once the applause died down and everyone took their seats, she began her topic with an earnest. She captured everyone’s attention from the beginning. Each participant in attendance had paid a tidy sum to attend in person to hear her presentation. The questions came fast and furious and with the eagerness of loyal fans. It was awesome to feel the electricity in the air and observe the focused attention of the audience to the content being delivered.
She needed no PowerPoint presentation or slide show. Her energy and the ability to engage with the audience was evident to all who observed. After the one hour keynote presentation, she directed the technicians to raise the house lights and encouraged the audience to ask specific, unprepared questions. There were no “plants” in the audience with predetermined questions.
The audience eagerly participated in the question and answer portion of the session, and contributed to the lively exchange of ideas, and solutions. The large projector screen reflected the social media commentary the audience was sharing with each other and the world. The questions were being captured by the team observing in the back room. The Q&A would be posted on the conference website within 24 hours of the conference conclusion for those who were unable to attend. An audio transcript would follow thereafter.
When she invited her panel of peer experts to the stage for the panel discussion, it was conducted similar to a high-level news program. The diversity of the panel members reflected the audience makeup and the fans of the presenter from multiple industries. The panel members and the presenter had worked together on a number of training implementations throughout the world. Together, they were a valuable treasure chest of lessons learned and helpful tips for the audience of aspiring, and current workplace professionals.
When the panel gave the alert for the last question, the audience seemed to move forward in their seats, as the presenter approached the podium. After graciously thanking the panel members, the client (who sponsored the learning conference) and the audience, she quickly summarized the key points, and challenged everyone to select one key topic to incorporate into their workplace responsibilities.
As was her signature in every presentation or workshop she presented, she concluded asking each audience member to reach out a hand and bring someone else along for the ride – at least one person during the year. In her view, if each one helped one colleague per year, we would each be responsible for enhancing the work lives of at least 30 people during our lifetimes. As the crowd voiced their agreement and commitment to her request, she concluded her talk. She departed the stage to thunderous applause and appreciation, while the big screen broadcast the cities and dates of her upcoming training series of workshops.
As she exited the event to head to the airport, her assistant handed her a hot cup of French Vanilla coffee – her favorite. I took a sip, sighed with utter enjoyment and thanked her. Another great session and now it was time to prepare for my next one.
I can’t wait.