With Dreamforce and a few other big conferences coming up before the end of the year, I thought I would re-share a couple of my past blog posts that are relevant to these events.
The first blog is archived on LinkedIn (the link to the blog is below) and it's about how to efficiently maximize your time working at your company's booth and ensure you don't fall into some of the usual “traps" that come with these big conferences where having fun is also a priority. These are great tips to share with everyone at your company who is attending the conference and working at your booth.
The other blog was written prior to Father's Day 2016. If you or someone you know is going to be presenting at Dreamforce or another upcoming conference, this blog hopefully will help with speech or presentation prep. This post wasn't archived on LinkedIn so below is the original text version. To everyone attending a conference soon, good luck and have fun!
A Father’s Day Blanket Statement: Linus was on to something
How many of you have a certain routine or keep a good luck charm on you when you are getting up to deliver an important message to your team or present to a group at an event?
I’ve heard or read so many stories throughout my career, of different rituals like Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff practicing 7 times before getting on stage**. Or people who eat the same breakfast or lunch before every presentation. Then there’s the good luck charms people keep on their key chains or in their pockets. Business professionals and sports professionals both have these “pre-game” rituals or good luck charms. Taking the voodoo and superstitions out of the equation – these rituals or charms are really security blankets to help us feel more at ease.
Just like Charlie Brown’s friend Linus had his blanket.
With Father’s Day approaching I’d like to share a story about my three-year-old son, Dylan, and how we may actually be taking a page out of a children's “playbook” with our pre-game rituals and good luck charms.
This past January Dylan, or D as we sometimes call him, had his first day of school. In addition, he had just become a big brother about 3 weeks prior so the little guy was going through some major transitions.
The first few weeks of school were difficult for Dylan and he cried when I dropped him off. After about 2 weeks we asked the teachers if there was something we could do to help him adjust to this new routine. They suggested…have Dylan bring a small toy from home with him and he can hang on to it throughout the day to make him feel more secure. So going forward Dylan would bring a small toy truck or hot wheels car with him and it was incredible how quickly he adjusted. The tears turned into smiles and excitement.
Just around the time D was fully adjusted and loving school I had a business trip. On this trip I was going to be leading some training sessions so I would be speaking in front of people which we all know can be stressful. The day before I left for this trip Dylan asked me if I get sad when I go to work. I told him that yes, daddy got sad and missed him and the girls a lot. Dylan then went to his toy bins and pulled out a hot wheels race car and put the little car into the side pocket of my work bag. He then told me the next time I got sad at work, to take out my new toy and play with it and I won’t be sad anymore.
So now, in addition to my usual pre-game rituals and security blankets that I use prior to speaking in front of a group (below), I proudly have this little blue car in my pocket so I don’t get sad and I can feel more secure.
What are some of your pre-game routines or good luck charms that work for you?
Some of mine are:
· Practice, practice, practice – out loud.
· Practice my opening statements and transition statements the most. I have found that this prevents me from a weak start (and I gain early momentum and confidence), and prevents me from stumbling from one topic to the next.
· Stop practicing a few hours before the event so my head is not spinning
· If possible, go to the room I am presenting in the night before or the morning of and just get comfortable standing in front and even talk through the first couple minutes of my presentation
· Eat something light before so I don’t get food coma from a giant meal.
· My security blanket is a practical one – a 3 X 5 index card with the main topics I need to cover. I keep this in my back pocket or jacket pocket in case I freeze.
· And believe it or not, I like to do stretching exercises because it relieves stress and makes me feel better. Plus I don’t want to be the first person to pull a muscle while public speaking.