About 10 minutes into a 3-hour presentation on entrepreneurship in Qatar, on film, just warming up myself and the audience, the handler interrupted to announce that the cars in a certain parking area were about to be towed, and would those car owners please move their cars. A third of the audience left their chairs.
Not to be deterred, as the film was rolling, I took my handheld microphone (always request one – it allows you to control your own movements and the interaction of the audience) into the audience to involve them in an open conversation about each of their businesses.
My first candidate was a woman in my left peripheral vision, who had been smiling and nodding during the first 10 minutes of my talk. I descended upon her, smiling. “All speakers look for such a person as this when they begin their presentation,” I announced. “A positive, nodding, smiling bright space in the audience, to encourage me that I am delivering what you want. Tell me your name and what kind of business you own…..”
So began the interaction with the audience.
The interesting part came later, when I received an email from her, that began, “You conveyed profound meaning in the simplest of words…. I felt deep resonance with you.”
I thanked her and asked if I could use her words in a testimonial on my site. She agreed, adding, “If you do come to Doha… u can count me in the audience. It would be lovely to know you better. And if there is anything I can do for you, I will be glad to be associated with you.”
Two weeks later came another email. “There has been an inner urge to foster a relation with you but I waited to test how strong and sustained my desire would be. Having become clearer of my inner conviction, I am putting forth a proposal for your consideration.” And she proposed that we work together in Qatar, India, South Africa and Ethiopia, where her own work could open doors for us.
I was moved by her language, her courage to express her feelings and intentions, and her offer. I said yes. I hope we become close collaborators and friends.
Hidden gems: you never know who or what you will find when you venture out into the world. Who said 90% of success is showing up? Keep active and out there.