When All Else Fails, Have a Good Time!
I work with a training company as a meeting facilitator. They happened to double schedule me for the first day of a two-day meeting. Unfortunately, I was on the agenda to open the second day and my job was to review the learning on day one (the day I had missed!) . Of course, I had the agenda of day one but I had no idea of the content. There were about 150 people in the audience as I sat off stage wondering what I was going to do.
Then I remembered what an Australian Buddhist monk, Ajahn Brahm, said he did before appearing on television. He had agreed to appear before learning the topic. Just before show time they told him the topic: “Sex in the marriage relationship.” Being a celibate monk he had no information about this! He was consumed by fear. What would he say? What could he do? How could he get out of this situation? Then he remembered his teacher who had told him, “When all else fails, have a good time!” So that’s what he decided to do. He decided that even if nobody else learned anything, at least he would have a good time. He did and the show got great reviews.
Remembering this story, I decided to do the same. When I got onto the stage I had a great time. I told the audience: “When I arrived late last night people recognized me and grabbed telling me how excited they were about what they had learned. They were all geared up and ready to knock the walls down! Now whenever I encounter this kind of thing at a conference I always think to myself, “What’s going to happen when these folks go back to their offices? In two days they are going to forget everything they think they just learned! Their excitement will fade, their enthusiasm will be lost and they will be buried in minutiae two miles high! My mother told me that to be forewarned is to be forearmed! So to make sure this kind of forgetfulness does not happen with you, let’s take 5 minutes, review what you learned yesterday, and make an action plan: 3 actions you will take based on what you learned yesterday. Then share this with your neighbor!” It went great.
As it happened the company had hired an expert in presentation skills. After each presenter he got on stage and told them his thoughts about what they had done well and what they could improve. During my presentation he whispered to one of our coaches, “What am I going to say to Bob? Everything he’s doing is perfect!!”
When all else fails, have a good time!