I just gave a presentation to 400 people. It was supposed to be somewhere between 250 and 300. Ira, the real man of the hour, only put out 250 seats so that if any extra came the putting out of extra seats would build excitement and anticipation. It worked. The place was packed and buzzing.
Ira welcomed everyone to the 20th Training Services in China Conference, told jokes and built upon the rapport of 20 years as host of the conference and warmed the audience up nicely for me then handed me the floor. We’d had a brief conversation about jokes earlier. I’d given my presentation to him a few times and he said I needed to come up with a couple jokes. Or at least an interesting anecdote. As I was basically presenting statistical data, I struggled a bit with the joke thing and came up with nothing. Not that I’m humorless. Far from it! But I chose to set a tone of professionalism and knowledgability.
I introduced myself as the chief researcher and author of the State of the Training Industry in China report, which they could find published in the Training Services Directory they had been given and that I would be presenting highlights of the data presented in the report. The sound of my voice through the PA system echoed through the sizeable conference room. I felt a lump in my throat coming on and could detect the hint of a waver in my voice for the first twenty seconds. Then I started going through the slides, presenting the data and I dropped into my natural presenter mode and enjoyed leading them through my findings. It was great! Ira later told me that he liked the tone I set as it was a nice contrast to his showmanship.
Now that I’ve finished my annual gig with the Training Directory, I was expecting things to be over with Ira and his company Universal Ideas China. Ira surprised me though by offering me a chance to participate in a marketing report for the Economist Intelligence Unit in Hong Kong. I don’t have to run it cause they’ve hired someone I’ve been wanting to meet, Tom, the boyfriend of Angela, the project manger for the Training Directory. She told me about him when I mentioned that I was starting a master degree course in renewable engery. It turns our that her boyfriend is here studying solar energy for a year at a Chinese university. Of course I jumped at the chance.