Archive for the ‘NACE’ Category



June 14, 2012

In the end, what a rewarding experience I had working with Lisa Brenna, MIntahoe, and the Boat Club for the June NACE Meeting!

When Lisa asked me to take part in the program, I was not so sure what my contribution could be, as the unique space, Lisa’s creativity and Mintahoe’s skill at combining their primary event product – the food and beverage- into an outstanding visual experience did not seem to need my help.  Those elements were in good hands with Mintahoe.   And who needs décor, with a view of the river and city of St. Paul behind it?

Time availability on both our parts limited what we could do in terms of some of the interactive ideas I threw out to get the guests to engage and participate…and the things Lisa hoped I could help on did not happen.  How simple should it be for me to get a bongo player for the ceremony circle- or a little soft seating for the program portion of evening?  Well, I didn’t deliver on those either!

So as we went forward, I was feeling pretty useless, until I realized, she had planned her menu around something I said about interculturalism, and that she did not view my response to her request for linens and centerpieces  as laziness when I agreed to source them, but then questioned at the same time WHY she wanted them.  This was a meeting, not an event, I reminded her.  White linens were appropriate, and why did she want to detract from message of the meeting and the WOW of what she was doing, with “cool looking new linens”?  Fortunately for me, she agreed, and as I wandered around fairly anonymously in the crowd, I did not hear one comment from any of the NACE people criticizing the white table covers .  Good, saved again. 

As we were approaching the meeting date, it finally became clear that what she was looking for from me was a few minutes in the program to share my event perspective on a topic of my choice with the audience.

And now, I was really worried.  Oh yes, I have a LOT of thoughts and strong opinions on events…I just hate public speaking and do not do very well at it!  Yikes, now I certainly was in trouble….my logo was all over that invitation as a partner with Lisa…Like it or not, I had to put together 10 minutes of something!

I took what I thought was a gamble, but it nevertheless  reflected my current thoughts on events, and put together a few comments about collaboration, multi-generational events, and most importantly, intercultural audiences and what that means to all of us that represent the event world and the changes we have to start making right now in how we approach our business-if we have any desire to be players in this industry a decade from now..

And off I went to the site to see if I could help with the set (silly me, I KNEW it was in good hands). Other than filling some votives with colored salt to hold the mashed cones,  I had nothing to do for a couple hours but WORRY about what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, would I remember the key points, and would the audience relate, or think Lisa was crazy to have asked me to participate.  I spent  the set-up and event time, mentally  changing what I was going to say – over and over. 

And then, there I was, mike in hand – no podium to help me easily reference my notes, with a room full of people staring at me.  Ask me what I said, and which things I remembered, or forgot, and I could not tell you….but I did start to notice people smiling and nodding …so it appeared a few at least were following what I had to say.  I got a few questions, and a bit of discussion going at the end with audience joining in the discussion, so I knew that I had at least SURVIVED the ordeal.

But the end of the evening demonstrated how really gracious these NACE people are!  I lost track of the thank yous, and the brief comments about the appropriate topic and next step suggestions-I only know however badly I may have delivered the message, this group of people “Got It”!   It was worth every moment of worrying beforehand!