The History Problem

I attended an event last month, and it’s been troubling me ever since.

Perfectly charming guest speaker. Completely adequate catering (you can ask no more in my experience) and a charming crowd out for a good evening.

So far all right.

At one point though I had one of those “tilt” moments when nothing looks the same again.

A little diversion: If you've heard me speak, I often quote from Bill Gate’s book Business at the Speed of Thought which contains many bits of advice, the one I like to quote is his assertion that although modern business is powered by many clever tools the fundamental way the business is carried out is would be recognised 100 years ago. This piece of wisdom fundamentally altered how I looked at the world from that point forward.

Diversion over. The thing that tripped me up was that the event I attended was in a prestigious establishment steeped in history and beautiful to behold. In these fine surroundings, I saw that if the characters from Downton Abbey had shown up at the event nothing would have seemed strange to them.

Here is my question to you: How do we update the age old event format for a more collaborative 21st Century version of the: Campagne Reception; Gala Dinner: Guest Speaker; Q&A formula?

Once I’d had this thought things would not go back the way they were. It seemed to me that the objectives of the evening were not served particularly well, the whole thing seemed so inefficient, and no vale was added beyond simply “being in the same room” as the other participants. We are missing some tricks here.


Richard Tierney is a speaker coach and author of The Introverted Presenter



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