A meeting planner needed a speaker on change

The committee was trying to decide how to end their conference. Conference goers complained that last year’s speaker was boring and that it was hard to really network. Attendees are usually tired, overfed and over-informed by the last day of the conference. They decided to focus on change because surveys showed that delegates were having a hard time dealing with all the change in their industry and their work lives. How could they better navigate change themselves AND get others to more easily adapt?

The conference committee heard Carla had a rare combination of being entertaining, interactive with practical, tried-and-true tools. So, they booked her. She came early to the conference and hung around getting to know long time association members and new ones hearing about their wins and their challenges. She also worked with the photographer who was taking photos of all the events at the conference. On the last morning of the conference the room was packed. Even family members crowded into the room, because they knew this would be a message for everyone.

Carla started her talk with a photo slide show of some of the most fun aspects of the conference—playing golf, eating lobster, asking questions of panels, seeing a show. She included a playful running commentary and people were exploding with applause and laughter. Then she opened with humor about some of the challenges they deal with in their industry. She proceeded onto tips for managing change and challenge using a more creative and innovative mind set by telling stories of situations they regularly deal with. For the more analytical minded she included some of the latest facts and stats from neuroscience, psychology and organizational development.

She had them interacting in an easy and fun way practicing a simple form of communication that can revolutionize meetings at work. She also examined with them the costs to resisting change and the huge payoffs to getting into the flow with it. She ended with a way to maintain and even build your enthusiasm when you are facing a setback, and about how to stay goal and people focused at the same time. She ended with a unique way of appreciating all the people who’d worked hard to make the conference happen.

The organizer was so thrilled with the results of her presentation that she came up and hugged Carla. Several attendees said it was the best presentation he’d ever seen and he’d been coming to the conference for over 10 years. The president of the association told her that they want Carla to come back next year and do another presentation because her name would definitely draw attendees. She received dozens of emails of people who’d tried her techniques back at work and were amazed at and delighted at the results.