candle cupcake

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am 43 years old today and for the first time in about 10 years I am away from home and working on my birthday. The kids all phoned me this morning with birthday wishes, but the best present came in the form of a conversation with a delegate on the course I am facilitating in London.

Let me give you some context. 18 months ago, I was asked to speak at a conference about a consistent Value Proposition. I was give a one-hour time slot and was told that the delegates would have been working on a case study and have their draft VP’s ready. My talk was supposed to set up a presentation exercise afterwards. I had agreed with the organiser that when I arrived they would give me the list of VP’s and I would use this as the basis of my presentation. When I arrived, they hadn’t got that far in the exercise and so with 5 minutes to go I had to change the presentation.

I came off stage thinking I had done ok, the crowd seemed pleased and engaged and the applause genuine. The next day, however, I received an abusive e-mail from the organizers, accusing me of a whole host of sins—that I had offended and upset most of the audience and would never be invited back. I was upset for about a month but eventually came to the conclusion that you can’t please everybody and that maybe this lady was just having a bad day.

So this morning—18 months later—that company is one of m62’s largest global clients, and a delegate from the course came over and thanked me for that very same, allegedly offensive presentation. He has used my “Happy and Safe” story and the Killer Presentations diagram over and over again to argue to his management team that they need a consistent message and stop using bullet points.

So, my birthday gift? The reminder that for every person in the audience who disapproves of your content, there is another who’s finding it useful. I think there is a good chance the Lady Organiser is chewing out another presenter for not being psychic, while today’s delegate is enjoying a useful two days with the m62 crowd. You can’t please all the people all the time, but pleasing most of the people most of the time is good enough for me.

Happy days!

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